Biden’s Key Climate Law Gives Big Oil a ‘Massive Escape Hatch’: Analysis
“While the IRA was touted as the ‘largest investment in climate and energy in American history,’ it could turn out to be a failure if Biden doesn’t also take bold action on fossil fuels,” said Oil Change International.
By JULIA CONLEY
The 2022 law heralded as U.S. President Biden’s key climate achievement may support an expansion of clean energy, but a new analysis out Monday demonstrates how the Inflation Reduction Act leaves the fossil fuel industry with vast opportunities to extract more oil and gas and continue boosting its record-breaking profits at the expense of frontline communities.
The report, said Oil Change International (OCI) as it released the new findings, proves that the Biden administration can’t rely on the IRA to demonstrate its commitment to the emissions reduction that scientists agree is needed to mitigate the climate crisis.
Titled Biden’s Fossil Fuel Fail: How U.S. Oil and Gas Supply Rises Under the Inflation Reduction Act, Exacerbating Environmental Injustice and released 10 days before the 28th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), the analysis uses previously unpublished data from climate modeling by the Rhodium Group, an environmental think tank.
“The model projects that despite the IRA’s investment in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and batteries, the United States could still miss its Paris Agreement goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 50 to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030,” reads the report, noting that as the world’s largest historical emitter of fossil fuel emissions, the U.S. has a responsibility to “cut its emissions faster than the global average.”
The group’s model projects that domestic fossil gas demand in the U.S. will decline by 16% by 2035, yet production is expected to rise by 7%. Petroleum demand is expected to decline by 20%, yet production will rise by 13%.
“The gap between production and demand is filled by surging exports,” explained OCI. “Gas exports are projected to double by 2035, while oil and petroleum product exports rise 23%.”
Wind and solar power are expected to replace gas domestically, added the organization, but the positive effects of the decline in gas demand in the U.S. are “tempered by an increase in gas consumption within the oil and gas industry itself.”
The “energy-hungry” liquefied natural gas (LNG) export sector will essentially cancel out progress made by surging wind and solar power in the U.S., said OCI, with gas consumption by LNG export plants growing 140% by 2035.
“The Biden administration touts the Inflation Reduction Act as a centerpiece of its achievements on climate,” said Collin Rees, U.S. campaign manager for OCI. “In reality, the bill leaves a massive escape hatch for the fossil fuel industry to continue business as usual.”
Rhodium’s modeling projects that the U.S. will miss its targeted emissions reduction for 2030 by 16-18 percentage points if the Biden administration relies on the IRA and its investments in technological fixes like carbon capture and storage and fossil hydrogen production while allowing continued investments in oil and gas exports.
“While the IRA was touted as the ‘largest investment in climate and energy in American history,’ it could turn out to be a failure if Biden doesn’t also take bold action on fossil fuels,” said OCI in a statement. “As the world gathers for COP28, Biden still has a chance to be the climate leader he claims he is by making a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels.”
The phase-out of all oil and gas production in the U.S. is widely recognized as necessary by energy and climate experts, and has long been demanded by advocates for frontline communities, which bear a disproportionate public health burden due to the strong links between fossil fuel extraction, storage, and transport and harms including respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular disease, and poor outcomes for pregnant people and infants.
Boosting fossil fuel production and exports “while exacerbating pollution in environmental justice communities,” said OCI, is a “deadly combination.”
6/ Failing to #EndFossilFuels hurts communities in areas of oil + gas production, processing, + exports.— Oil Change International (@PriceofOil) November 20, 2023
Black, Brown, Indigenous + poor communities, esp. in Appalachia, Gulf Coast + Permian Basin, are disproportionately hit by pollution, climate disasters, + health impacts.
Roishetta Sibley Ozane, founder of the Vessel Project of Louisiana, said Biden’s approval of projects like the Willow oil drilling initiative in Alaska, nearly $2 billion for publicly financed fossil fuel projects abroad, and his support for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, among other pollution-causing infrastructure, has shown frontline communities that the president’s campaign promises regarding environmental justice were “nothing but a smokescreen.”
“We supported [President Joe] Biden for change, not to deal with deadly decisions made without us at the table,” said Ozane. “The fight against climate disaster is collective, and the United States cannot preach about caring for communities while exporting pollution globally.”
The pollution impacts of continued fossil fuel production and exports will be “disproportionately borne by Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities—specifically in Appalachia, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico,” said OCI.
To align with Biden’s stated climate goals, the group said, the president’s efforts must go far beyond the IRA and include a phase-out of oil and gas exports, an end to fossil fuel leasing on federal lands, and a halt to all approvals for new fossil fuel infrastructure.
“At COP28 the spotlight will be on our collective effort to end the fossil fuel era,” said Rees. “Will the United States deliver, or will Biden’s climate legacy be one of disastrous oil and gas expansion and failure to adequately tackle the climate crisis?”
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.
Here are more “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:
❗️EXCEPTIONAL EVENT❗️— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 21, 2023
Central Asia is living something mind blowing:
It's 5am in Ashkabad,the capital of former USRR Republic of Turkmenistan and the temperature is almost 29C with similar heat in other areas of the country:
Nothing even close has ever happened in November
HISTORIC HEAT WAVE— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 21, 2023
Overnight Minimums up to 23.4C in Central Asia;10/13C above the highest ever this time of the year,arguably the biggest differences seen anywhere in world climatic history.
TMAXES today reached
20.5 North Korea https://t.co/OJRbg2FCpX
Exceptional heat wave in Western Australia with temperatures up to 43.8C at Morawa and 43.1C at Geraldton.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 21, 2023
Perth is living an extraordinary hot week with max. temperatures 35/40C all week and minimums possibly going above 25C:Both monthly records (highest Tmax and Tmin) can fall pic.twitter.com/bXa5xnTRZB
Big warming up in China with the warm air coming from Central Asia: 146 records for the last third of November broken today/many more tomorrow.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 21, 2023
More record warm spells will kick off in Central Asia with 30C again next week.
It's an insanity what Central Asia is living this month https://t.co/R9RjgV4BvT
Southern Africa Heat Wave:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 21, 2023
Hot day and night with records of November Highest Tmins broken in SOUTH AFRICA 🇿🇦
27.2 Punda Maria
Temperatures exceed 40C even >1000m. pic.twitter.com/eVZmFuZuWP
Extraordinary heat in the CANARY ISLANDS.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 21, 2023
Temperatures up to 31C at 1am at night at Frontera (Tenerife).
TMIN didn t dropped below 28.5C.
At 5am it was 29C in La Gomera Island. Historic.
Very warm also in MADEIRA Island today with 28C.
Map by Aemet. pic.twitter.com/qzFCZvMcXk
After their harshest October heat wave in history,Morocco and Canary Islands have experienced the warmest spells on record in November with temperatures 30/36C all week.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 20, 2023
Today was one last day with 32C for both, but a cooling is on the way from tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/XrrVULgSZf
Never ending record heat in #Mexico:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) November 21, 2023
Unprecedented temperatures for November with records smashed with huge margins allover the country.
More records fell:
37.8 Rio Verde 991m
33.4 Orizaba 1260m
32.3 Jalapa 1365m
30.5 Tulacingo 2200m yesterday https://t.co/jdP1Bvw0DJ
Here is more October 2023 Climatology:
Another look at last month's record-breaking temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere… — Zack Labe (@ZLabe) November 21, 2023
Data information at https://t.co/Y7TeMNSvIJ. Code for the raw data at https://t.co/DXbFxLLHlC. pic.twitter.com/6pUw4KhvCs
Here is More Climate and Weather News from Tuesday:
"Breaching 2°C is the most important story in human history and beyond"…….— Robert Redmayne Hosking 🔥🌍🔥 (@rhosking252) November 21, 2023
Let's tell it like it is, while more oil infrastructures, drilling are put in place the level of collapse is on our way to a 3°C world.
Do i need to say more…..???? https://t.co/rTITG2VWWy
In other words, no, we're nowhere close to exceeding 2C warming of the planet, but another decade of business-as-usual carbon emissions puts us within striking distance of 1.5C. #TruthIsBadEnough#RapidDecarbonization#COP28 https://t.co/7GeCBCGLrO— Prof Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) November 21, 2023
Great piece in @Nature today exploring if its too late to keep warming below 1.5C (yes, at least without overshoot) but also highlighting the accelerating energy transition that is occurring worldwide. I was happy to help with a few figures in the piece: https://t.co/c1pOJLU5tm pic.twitter.com/Jx7aww4knk— Zeke Hausfather (@hausfath) November 21, 2023
Would the metaphor police please cite these folks? I'm fearful the window of opportunity is closing to stop them.— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) November 21, 2023
"'This is a five-alarm fire for humanity,' the group Climate Defiance tweeted in response to the figures."https://t.co/5v6nN2PVfl pic.twitter.com/gjOhdMYOns
The rich are killing life on Earth creating misery suffering and death for poorest people and the animal world— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) November 21, 2023
And its not just the top 1% but also the top 10% in rich countries (anyone paid more than about $40,000 (£32,000) a year,responsible for half of all global emissions https://t.co/JP3qSl1dmH
Your 'moment of doom' for Nov. 21, 2023 ~ Welcome to the #climatecasino— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) November 21, 2023
"To have an even money shot at keeping warming to the 1.5C limit adopted by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, countries have to slash their emissions by 42% by the end of the decade."https://t.co/PlgCjWNgOs
#TuesdayMorning Reading: "Wildfires release methane, which accelerates #climatechange, which causes more frequent wildfires — and repeat." #Wildfires are thawing the tundra https://t.co/zWuPUq6aPQ via @highcountrynews— Silicon Valley North (@CCLSVN) November 21, 2023
Superyachts and private jets: the carbon impact of the ‘polluter elite’ – podcast https://t.co/I3rYvEBXXl— Guardian Environment (@guardianeco) November 21, 2023
Today scientists came back to parliament to talk to their MPs about New Oil&Gas.— ScientistsForXR (@ScientistsX) November 21, 2023
Let’s start with a clear statement:
No one is asking that the current supplies of Oil&Gas are turned off overnight.
Not JSO, not the International Energy Agency, no Scientist, not the UN. No one!🧵 pic.twitter.com/GrVSNHnUHd
What chance COP28 reversing the trend? “Delegates linked to the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies and trade groups have attended climate talks ~7,200 times over the last 20 years,” “representatives representing world’s largest polluting companies have attended ~6,581 times." pic.twitter.com/QjgWpQzAt7— Peter Dynes (@PGDynes) November 21, 2023
Human Rights Watch:— Prof Nick Cowern (@NickCowern) November 21, 2023
"All of us, at any time, may need to exercise our rights or hold the state to account and suddenly discover that we have lost the power to do so."https://t.co/IPwbc88ZCy
Long jail terms of two @JustStop_Oil protesters potentially breach international law, UN expert says— Damian Carrington (@dpcarrington) November 21, 2023
– Sentences risk silencing public concerns about the environment, climate change rapporteur Ian Fry says#climatecrisis
Story by @damiengayle https://t.co/g9ksGIAMH1
Today’s News on Sustainable Energy, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:
New blog: Shell trying to crush opposition— Oil Change International (@PriceofOil) November 21, 2023
“@Shell is trying “to crush @Greenpeace’s ability to campaign, and in doing so, seeking to silence legitimate demands for climate justice,” said Areeba Hamid, co-executive director of @GreenpeaceUK”https://t.co/G28UG7LHli
BREAKING: In their formal #COP28 resolution, the European Parliament has just called for governments to phase out coal, oil & gas “as soon as possible” & develop a #FossilFuelTreaty— Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative (@fossiltreaty) November 21, 2023
It’s time for a global plan to #EndFossilFuels.
Read more 🧵or https://t.co/UKIVvdR2vo pic.twitter.com/TrWXNrDJlt
BREAKING: as scholars confirm genocide by Israel, U.S. President Joe Biden's energy security advisor visits 'to discuss potential economic revitalization plans for Gaza centered around undeveloped offshore natural gas fields' 🧵— Ben See (@ClimateBen) November 21, 2023
Sierra Leone has been identified as one of the world's most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, despite having contributed just a tiny fraction of global CO2 emissions… it is also one of the least prepared to deal with those impacts. https://t.co/oDxqwP95wX— Vanessa Nakate (@vanessa_vash) November 21, 2023
Virtual Power Plants are the next big thing–the internet of electricityhttps://t.co/DHaU3zal0g— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) November 21, 2023
All the trains in the Netherlands run entirely on renewable energy.— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) November 21, 2023
We have the solutions. #ActOnClimate#ClimateEmergency #climate #energy #renewables #renewableenergy #GreenNewDeal pic.twitter.com/Sub4GT1yu2
More from the Weather Department:
A snowy morning wonderland in Telluride! ☃️ pic.twitter.com/pkaFaegkpO— AccuWeather (@accuweather) November 21, 2023
Holy Canadian Warming Batman! Clearly the ECMWF weeklies read yesterday's blog and are now full in on a Canadian Warming second week of December. Looking at this image I think that anyone can understand where the name comes from. pic.twitter.com/0dlqgW06mu— Judah Cohen (@judah47) November 21, 2023
This is for entertainment purposes only & not an endorsement from me, but I can't remember the last time the ECMWF weeklies predicted such a well defined positive Pacific-North America (PNA) pattern. If (& monster if) verified it'd be much #colder in the East US than shown below. pic.twitter.com/hPpwMIzhGx— Judah Cohen (@judah47) November 21, 2023
More on the Environment and Nature:
More trees https://t.co/nNQ7wq1byu— Alex Hale 🌒 (@NBPTROCKS) November 21, 2023
Costa Rica's National Coast Guard successfully released 446 baby turtles into the ocean after rescuing the eggs from poachers. 🐢 pic.twitter.com/NX8eaK2RRD— AccuWeather (@accuweather) November 21, 2023
More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:
The cutest thing you'll see today. Cat and raccoon become unlikely friends, pictured hanging out and holding each other recently in San Carlos Park, Florida. Straight out a children's book! Credit: @WINKNews viewer Danni Smith pic.twitter.com/xM3U8ffGPw— Matt Devitt (@MattDevittWX) November 21, 2023
Reminder— Green is a mission (@Greenisamissio1) November 21, 2023
Forests are the natural hospitals for body and soul. You go in, no one asks you, no one gives you appointments for examinations, etc. You get what you need, and you feel better, and you are also delighted by the splendor and beauty. We need more forests worldwide💚🌳🌲💚 pic.twitter.com/suCsTaGRYM
Night Thoughts— Green is a mission (@Greenisamissio1) November 21, 2023
According to the WRI, 4.1 million hectares of tropical rainforest were destroyed worldwide in 2022. This corresponds to the area of Switzerland. Compared to 2021, the area destroyed increased by 10%.💚☘️🌿🌱🌳🌲🍀💚 pic.twitter.com/EhjRIg8Byw