Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinDefense and national security: Biden meets with allies in Europe On money: Jobless claims are at lowest level since late 1960s US and EU must unite to stop Putin MOREUkraine’s horrific war against the Ukrainian people has us all talking about how to prevent him, and other fossil fuel autocrats, from holding the global economy hostage while funding their war machine. In response, the fossil fuel industry is trying to convince policymakers and the public that more fossil fuels are the solution.
This is a lie. The increased dependence of our economy on fossil fuels increases our exposure to the volatility of fossil fuels. The industry does not want to export US supply to Europe for humanitarian reasons, it wants more access to a higher priced market. Fossil fuel executives and the conservative politicians they fund want to exploit a tragic situation for profit. Americans deserve the truth. The truth is, there is only one solution: to double down on our transition to cheap, clean energy made in America.
Putin’s power comes from the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. Russia is a petrostate and fossil fuels are financing Putin’s war crimes. Putin created market turbulence by reducing gas flows to the EU 25 percent of the levels of a year ago and, as expected, European methane gas prices increased more than 400 percent.
American oil and gas companies say the solution is more production. But we can’t build those assets fast enough to displace Russian supply. Design and construction times are measured in years, not hours. According to industry analysts, usually takes four to five years to build new export terminals.
And let’s be honest: Russia would like nothing more than for the US to become more economically dependent on a product that empowers Russian oligarchs. Our citizens, and indeed the world, deserve a foreign policy that puts the interests of the United States before those of Vladimir Putin.
Furthermore, the United States is already the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. Our gas exports have grown rapidly since the first shipment of LNG was shipped from the lower 48 states in 2016. And the US will remain the world’s largest exporter through 2022, according to the US Energy Information Agency.
President BidenJoe BidenDefense and national security: Biden meets with allies in Europe On money: Jobless claims at lowest level since late 1960s Energy and environment: Biden walks a tightrope in oil industry messaging PLUS‘s recent announcement means that every LNG export terminal in operation can export all its capacity. What Energy Section. Granholm explained this week, “The United States is exporting every molecule of liquefied natural gas we can to alleviate supply problems in Europe.” To suggest that we can flip a switch and create more export capacity is misleading. The only LNG export terminal currently under construction won’t be online until 2024.
Even fossil fuel investors are not eager to build new gas export terminals. Of the 21 proposed US export terminals, 18 appear to lack direct project fundingand “[n]o Proposed US LNG Export Terminals reached final investment decisions (FID) or advanced to the construction phase in 2021.” LNG investments have been characterized as “fundamentally unsustainable. . . in light of cleaner and more economically viable renewable energy alternatives.”
On the contrary, investments in renewable energies generate approximately three times more direct and indirect jobs than comparable investment in fossil fuels. the United States can create 25 million new jobs by 2035 investing in projects that reduce carbon pollution using existing technologies. building a 90% clean network can support more than 500,000 jobs each year, many of which are union jobs that support the family. And renewable energy plus battery storage is cheaper and cheaper than the gasAnd, unlike fossil fuels, consumers can count on predictably low costs over time.
Producing and exporting gas from the US is also very bad for the climate, because gas is as dirty as coal, if not dirtier. For this reason, the International Energy Agency has warned, meeting our climate goals of limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires that “nothing new [gas] export fields or projects are developed[.]”
Finally, export US gas to international buyers raises domestic energy prices for all of us, and some Americans see increases of more than 90 percent. As long as our country relies on this volatile fossil fuel, Americans will continue to be subject to wild price fluctuations.
Every day we fail to agree on House-approved climate benchmark investments is a day Americans pay the price and fossil fuel autocrats benefit.
That is why I led nearly 90 of my colleagues in calling on President Biden to restart negotiations to enact cost-saving clean energy investments as the way forward to deliver tangible results to the American people.
What we are seeing in Ukraine makes it clear that our transition to clean energy is not just necessary to protect us against climate devastation. Preventing wars and protecting our national security requires investments in clean energy. American energy independence demands investments in clean energy. Cost reduction requires investments in clean energy.
Fossil fuels are not the solution. Fossil fuels created this chaos. It’s time to disarm the petro-dictators by preparing our nation to lead the world in a clean energy future.
Casten represents Illinois District 6 and is a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.