The day of reframing excessive energy use and so rising temperatures. Coal use in Asia is rising for centuries but US has replaced Coal with Methane, good? I do not buy in this positive framing of a highly complex and dangerous situation. As long as we grow, energy demand will… https://t.co/Rfwbx3bwTg pic.twitter.com/GFRd2GRjDD— Thomas Reis (@peakaustria) January 30, 2024
HUGE WIN for Gulf Coast communities of the US & for all of us🥳— Greenpeace International (@Greenpeace) January 30, 2024
💥Gas projects are mega carbon bombs already harming our health & destroying nature.
👌Biden's pause on the projects is a remarkable step towards a safer future. Let's make this pause permanent!#NoNewGas pic.twitter.com/cExUzD9V0g
U.S. stalls gas export projects that activists say are ‘climate bombs’
The White House decision delays new liquefied natural gas terminals, a victory for environmental groups that President Biden is courting in his reelection bid
Updated January 26, 2024 at 12:44 p.m. EST|Published January 26, 2024 at 5:00 a.m. EST
President Biden weighed in decisively in favor of climate activists fighting new fossil fuel development on Friday, deciding to pause the approval of new liquefied natural gas projects because of their danger to the planet, even in the face of criticism that the delay could hurt U.S. energy businesses.
The presidential directive, which requires the Energy Department to study the climate impact of new gas exports, could delay the approval of nearly a dozen fossil fuel projects past the November election. That could help Biden court young voters who consider such facilities to be “climate bombs” and who were angered by the administration’s approval of a massive drilling project in Alaska. But it risks antagonizing other interests, including foreign allies, fossil fuel companies and Republican lawmakers.
Many liquefied natural gas, or LNG, export facilities are in communities of color on the Gulf Coast and other parts of the country. Biden said in a statement that the climate review came in response to pleas from young activists and members of these communities.
“While MAGA Republicans willfully deny the urgency of the climate crisis, condemning the American people to a dangerous future, my Administration will not be complacent,” he said. “We will not cede to special interests. We will heed the calls of young people and front-line communities who are using their voices to demand action from those with the power to act.”
The decision represents the latest difficult choice Biden has faced over high-profile parts of his agenda. During early deliberations, it sparked a heated internal debate within the administration over national security concerns, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
Biden’s top climate aides, including White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi and clean energy senior adviser John Podesta, advocated for considering the climate consequences of gas exports, the two people said. But early on, top national security officials, including senior energy adviser Amos Hochstein and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, voiced concerns about curtailing gas exports to European allies in the event of another geopolitical conflict such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the end, the national security officials were satisfied with the final decision, since the United States will continue to supply gas to Europe, even with the climate review, the people said.
“As our exports increase, we must review export applications using the most comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the economic, environmental and national security considerations,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters during a Thursday call previewing the announcement, adding that her department could make exceptions due to national security emergencies.
Zaidi told reporters on the call that “the United States has been an unwavering partner to our allies in Europe, who, by the way … are our partner in calling for a transition away from fossil fuels.”
The New York Times first reported the administration’s decision, after Politico reported the White House was considering a climate review of LNG exports. Hochstein and a State Department spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
The United States is already a powerhouse in energy production, with its LNG exports playing a crucial role in helping Europe break free of its reliance on Russian gas. The question of approving additional gas exports has enormous environmental and political stakes: Allowing these facilities could lock in dependence on fossil fuels for decades to come, while pausing them could cede a future market to rivals and raise anxieties about global energy security.
Halting the expansion of LNG exports has become a top priority of environmentalists in recent months. Before news of the administration’s decision broke, several environmental groups had been planning a “Stop LNG” sit-in outside the Energy Department in early February.
The author and climate activist Bill McKibben, who had been preparing to attend the sit-in, this week declared victory. “It’s pretty clearly the win,” he wrote in a text message to The Washington Post.
The administration’s decision has cast uncertainty over a mammoth LNG project on the Louisiana coast known as Calcasieu Pass 2, or CP2. The project is closer to becoming operational than nine other proposed LNG terminals, since it has already secured financing and customers and is awaiting federal permits.
Shaylyn Hynes, a spokeswoman for the project’s owner, Venture Global, said in an email that “it appears the administration may be putting a moratorium on the entire U.S. LNG industry. Such an action would shock the global energy market, having the impact of an economic sanction, and send a devastating signal to our allies that they can no longer rely on the United States.”
Germany last year signed a deal to purchase about 2.21 million metric tons a year of LNG for 20 years from CP2. Stephan Gabriel Haufe, a spokesman for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, declined to comment on the Biden administration’s decision. But he said in an email that in general, “the German government has taken numerous measures to ensure security of supply, so we are currently not seeing any effects here.”
In a letter this week to the Biden administration, a coalition of fossil fuel industry groups blasted the decision as misguided. The groups, including the American Petroleum Institute and the Independent Petroleum Association of America, argued that limiting U.S. LNG exports would increase global emissions, since the gas could replace coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.
“One of the biggest things we can do for the environment is to send more U.S. LNG overseas to displace coal,” Mike Sommers, president and chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, told reporters at an event in Washington this month. The institute used the event to launch an eight-figure ad campaign promoting fossil fuels as “vital” to energy security.
Former president Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, said the decision would undermine America’s energy and national security. “Joe Biden has once again caved to the radical demands of the environmental extremists in his administration,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.
Republicans on Capitol Hill also slammed the climate review. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday that “it is abundantly clear that our adversaries are not waiting for us to wake up from this experiment in green self-harm.” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in a Friday statement that stalling LNG terminals “not only prevents America’s economic growth, it empowers our adversaries like [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
Yet some analysts said pausing permit approvals would have little immediate impact on the flow of U.S. LNG exports to European allies. They said the move would not impede the eight LNG export projects currently operating, nor would it halt the 10 projects already approved and under construction.
“This is an issue about not the coming wave of LNG but a potential future wave of LNG,” said Ben Cahill, a senior fellow in the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The United States now ranks as the world’s biggest LNG exporter after doubling its exports over the past four years. The projects already approved and under construction are expected to again double the potential volume of U.S. LNG exports by 2028. Almost all of these projects are along the Gulf Coast, mostly in an industrial region straddling Louisiana and Texas that is already home to hulking petrochemical plants.
Biden enraged young climate activists last year by approving the Willow oil drilling project in Alaska, even as the White House argued it was legally obligated to sanction it. But the greenhouse gas emissions associated with CP2 would be 20 times as large as those from Willow, according to an analysis by Jeremy Symons, an environmental consultant and former climate policy adviser at the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The Willow project was a carbon bomb, but the CP2 project is a megabomb when it comes to climate change,” Symons told The Post in an interview last year.
Some analysts said they view the administration’s decision as an olive branch to young voters, whom polls show prioritize climate action more than older generations.
“The president lost a lot of support after the Willow decision, especially among young folks,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group and an energy adviser in the George W. Bush administration. “I think the environmental community has put pressure on these projects and said, ‘Here’s where you can claw back some credibility on climate.’”
Two federal agencies are responsible for approving permits for LNG projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must decide whether to authorize the siting and construction of projects, and the Energy Department must determine whether it’s in the “public interest” to export gas to countries with which the United States lacks a free-trade agreement.
The Energy Department has never determined that gas exports are not in the “public interest.” In response, environmental activists have pressured the department to overhaul its approach to better account for climate impacts.
Activists note that the main component of natural gas is methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide in the short term. They also warn that new LNG export terminals will be operational for decades, even as top climate scientists say humanity must rapidly phase out fossil fuels to avert catastrophic warming.
“Liquefied natural gas is an incredibly dirty fuel, and the scale of exports that the U.S. has built up over the last few years has enormous global climate implications,” said Abigail Dillen, president of the environmental law firm Earthjustice. “The fact that the president is taking it on is huge, and I think it is going to mobilize his climate base in an election year.”
By Evan Halper Evan Halper is a business reporter for The Washington Post, covering the energy transition. His work focuses on the tensions between energy demands and decarbonizing the economy. He came to The Post from the Los Angeles Times, where he spent two decades, most recently covering domestic policy and presidential politics from its Washington bureau. Twitter
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:
ABSOLUTELY INSANE IN CANADA 21.1c at Maple Creek destroyed the Saskatechewan Provincial record for January by over 2C !— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 31, 2024
14.5C also in Manitoba including +2.7C at Churchill on the Hudson Bay. Records by dozens.
North America climatic history is being rewritten . https://t.co/tJRT1gpmFG
Temps will be up to 50 degrees F above normal in Canada this week for an extended period!! This is actual highs vs normal today. Red line is the freezing line (32F). Watch how far north it migrates. This is the result of a warm bubble/ blocking ridge developing over Canada. pic.twitter.com/uPaQv5DcTM— Jeff Berardelli (@WeatherProf) January 30, 2024
🌡️2.7°C in Churchill, Manitoba, near the Hudson Bay, new monthly record broken by a full degree [1.7°C in January 1981]! #MBstorm— Thierry Goose (@ThierryGooseBC) January 30, 2024
Many monthly records are coming in Western #Canada today. pic.twitter.com/yXSjaH8otu
TOTAL INSANITY IN CANADA-— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
JULY temperatures last night with 18.4C at Abbotsford just before 11pm lt. A temperature typical of a July night.
Also impressive 20.6°C/69°F in Bellingham, WA, monthly record smashed by full 4F.
This event is writing North American climatic history. https://t.co/GWCTLYLi77
HISTORIC IN CANADA— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
Records broken in British Columbia,Alberta,Sasktachewan,Yukon and NW Territories.
Vancouver had its warmest winter night ever with Tmin +11.5C
Maxes >15C SK and AB , >10C Yukon and NWT
Much warmer tomorrow with 18/19C.👎🧵 https://t.co/tJERxQ0tUg
Absolute insane what MEXICO is living:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
Temperatures of 41C in the Northern State of Sinaloa, completely unprecedented in January.
41.0C at Vinoramas, 40.7C Choix ,40.0C Rosario and the heat is increasing.
Records have fallen nearly every day of the month in Mexico. pic.twitter.com/nYmS9hmGBi
Brutal heat is sweeping all SOUTH AMERICA— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
GUYANA 36.8 Lethem HOTTEST JANUARY DAY IN GUYANESE HISTORY
COLOMBIA 33 Medellin, hottest January day
ARGENTINA MIN. 27.0 San Martin Highest January minimum.
Dozens of records will fall next 10 days pic.twitter.com/o7TjjiXKI8
Never ending record heat in Australia, where hundreds of records have fallen this month.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
Today more records of highest minimum temperatures in the East including all time highest Tmin at St Lawrence with 28.6C. Details 👎 https://t.co/yTIRE20if0
ZA Heat wave Update:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
Brutal heat wave in South Africa:
45.8C yesterday at Fort Beaufort (455m asl) HOTTEST DAY in its climatic history (for any month). https://t.co/dZNQlTlPIh
Insane heat wave in THAILAND:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
Phuket destroyed its monthly record again with 37.0C.
Dozens records of highest minimums.
Thailand has broken thousands of records continuosly nearly every day since March 2023. pic.twitter.com/851iEELTnX
MADEIRA again!— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
Hottest January day on record again with 28.4C at Sao VIcente on 26th.
Dozens of thousands of records have been falling allover the world every single day of 2024 so far.
>95% of the countries broke records,never happened anything similar. https://t.co/itiwdlcJ2C
Incredible winter warmth currently in Canada.— London & Southeast 🔆 (@TheSnowDreamer) January 30, 2024
Northern Manitoba seeing temperatures over 30C above normal. pic.twitter.com/sfPgfGSXIs
Here is more new December 2023 climatology:
Temperature anomalies over the last month (left), 3 months (center), and 12 months (right) in the Northern Hemisphere…— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) January 30, 2024
Data from @CopernicusECMWF ERA5 reanalysis at https://t.co/e7aUaffEik pic.twitter.com/gPOeS1jr0E
December 2023 in #Cyprus had an average temperature of 14.4C which is 2.9C above normal and was the WARMEST December on record.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 30, 2024
It was dry:Average precipitation was 50.4mm, 48% of the normal. pic.twitter.com/vwG1gkv64B
Here is More Climate News from Tuesday:
The heavy rain and snowfall from Storm Bettina that hit Russia, Ukraine and other countries around the Black Sea area in November 2023 was made twice as likely by human-caused climate change.— World Weather Attribution (@WWAttribution) January 30, 2024
Our attribution analysis was published this morning. https://t.co/h5O2buGoCf
We're getting close to the annual minimum for Antarctic sea ice extent. As of Jan. 29, extent is third lowest, at 2.71 million km². Last year's minimum happened on Feb. 17th and was a record low 1.95 million km².— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) January 30, 2024
A new record low? The climate 8-ball says "f&%kery ahead." pic.twitter.com/HKGrk8sJkL
Are we living in the Pyrocene? My review of several new books on our fiery future: https://t.co/v6KYgo7C4n— Elizabeth Kolbert (@ElizKolbert) January 30, 2024
Temperature Extremes Impact on Species Distributions: Biogeography Study https://t.co/MgJZV9PXob#climate #geography #biodiversity #Biology #ClimateCatastrophe #ClimateCrisis pic.twitter.com/hgZj6W9qyM— Paul Beckwith (@PaulHBeckwith) January 30, 2024
Your 'moment of doom' for Jan. 30, 2024 ~ ☠️— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) January 30, 2024
"Climate change is killing a lot of people, nobody is counting it, and nobody is moving in the direction of counting it. If it were anything but climate change, we would be treating it on very different terms."https://t.co/oQG8Nd8hl3
Can Animals Evolve Fast Enough to Keep Up With Climate Change?— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) January 30, 2024
Some may be able to, while others may nothttps://t.co/8rGyIalQNt
To build their #climate busting projects companies need insurance. Without it, new #FossilFuel projects can’t go ahead & existing ones must close.#ExtinctionRebellion UK is joining the @InsOurFuture Global Week of Action to #InsureOurFutureNow— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) January 30, 2024
Watch this space 😉 pic.twitter.com/di6yANzaGI
More from the Weather Department:
An atmospheric river will begin to impact the Western U.S. tonight and produce widespread low elevation rain, heavy mountain snow, and gusty winds.— National Weather Service (@NWS) January 30, 2024
Follow your local office by visiting https://t.co/GWrG0hTRHN pic.twitter.com/ncBxXhV7Cn
New Weather West post on pair of major storms headed for California. Wed storm to hit NorCal harder, but Sun-Mon storm may hit SoCal harder and there is at least moderate potential for widespread/significant SoCal flood risk then. #CAwx #CAwater https://t.co/98Kk1LJbEJ— Dr. Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) January 30, 2024
Like a textbook! Watch as a powerful low pressure system in the northeast Pacific swings a plume of moisture from Hawaii all the way to #California.— Matthew Cappucci (@MatthewCappucci) January 30, 2024
3 to 6 inches of rain are expected in the coastal range from SW Oregon to north of the Bay Area. Landslides too. pic.twitter.com/vF1RWz61A6
The calm before the storm!— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) January 30, 2024
Catch this stunning sunrise over the Bay Bridge this morning. Parts of the Bay Area are preparing for 4+ inches of rain from this next Atmospheric River! pic.twitter.com/BdOBp8wlcZ
After an abundance in snow last year across the Sierra its hard to look at such an abismal year without looking at the differences. This year we just haven't had the cold air to go along with our AR's so snow levels also remain high with most events. Thank goodness most… pic.twitter.com/R9K7ejm6KG— Jim Cantore (@JimCantore) January 30, 2024
Did somebody in Anchorage order snow? ❄️— AccuWeather (@accuweather) January 30, 2024
Over 104 inches of snow has fallen in Anchorage, Alaska, this winter. This is the earliest date on record the city has reached this milestone. #AKwx pic.twitter.com/orNuGHvhc8
Fun Fact: Nashville, Tennessee, has seen more snow than Minneapolis, Minnesota, so far this winter season! pic.twitter.com/TfdMraJwTW— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) January 30, 2024
Storm Inguun is set to explosively develop into a potent "bomb cyclone" in the North Atlantic. It will bring extremely windy conditions to Norway from tomorrow evening into Thursday morning with impacts very similar wind-wise to a Cat. 1 hurricane. Credit: @zoom_earth pic.twitter.com/f2wmNJDIFq— Nahel Belgherze (@WxNB_) January 30, 2024
While warm air dominates the headlines into early February across North America, those declaring winter over are in for a very rude awakening. The gradually retracting Pacific Jet and slow moving MJO should begin to encourage the return of high-latitude blocking by 2/15. pic.twitter.com/MDmg6K44hA— John Homenuk (@jhomenuk) January 29, 2024
Latest ECMWF Weeklies really going in on the -NAO regime developing in mid-February (an uptick from yesterday). This high latitude evolution would lead to a much cooler and more wintry pattern in both North America and Europe during the second half of the month. #natgas #energy pic.twitter.com/5qqn6H0wQO— John Homenuk (@jhomenuk) January 30, 2024
Seems the antics & misdirections of the #PolarVortex are over with more predictable behavior & influence on the February weather. One question does remain could there still be a backdoor impact from the Jan major warming? Blog available for an early look: https://t.co/WqtIEhQkCt pic.twitter.com/0FlWmSOvNr— Judah Cohen (@judah47) January 29, 2024
Today’s News on Sustainable Energy, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:
Collapse: US consumption of coal (including exports) collapses from 2007 peak of 1.127 million tons to 482 million tons in 2024 and 457 million tons in 2025.— John Raymond Hanger (@johnrhanger) January 30, 2024
What is driving the coal consumption collapse? Plunge of coal generation to its 1970 level!https://t.co/3lEITzcjyw pic.twitter.com/vBiv53rTJy
Impressive! EVs are 24.9% of California's auto sales in Q4 2023. Up 20%! Full electrics (BEV) are 21.3%, and Plug-in hybrids are 3.6% of sales.— John Raymond Hanger (@johnrhanger) January 30, 2024
Impressive numbers. https://t.co/GOXa8JCNFb
#TuesdayMorning Reading: #EVs -" In the coming 18 months, Circle K reportedly wants to roll out its own branded EV chargers across 30 new sites in Ireland." And in Ireland, you really could drive all around the country easily with a few more chargers. https://t.co/P9AbZqonqr— Silicon Valley North (@CCLSVN) January 30, 2024
Recent research shows there is far more hydrogen underground than previously thought.— Yale Environment 360 (@YaleE360) January 30, 2024
Well-funded startups around the globe are now drilling for clean-burning hydrogen, though questions linger as to whether it can be produced cheaply at scale.https://t.co/E7Fswi2HOb
Over the past 30 years, battery costs are down an incredible 99%; the density of top-tier cells is up 5 times; and sales are up 30%+ on average each year— Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk) January 30, 2024
Combined impact: 50%+ of fossil fuel demand confined to the history books by 2040https://t.co/2s5qjc0yBj #climate pic.twitter.com/CwbnD954Wl
More on the Environment and Nature:
“The global food system holds the future of humanity on Earth in its hand.” PIK director @jrockstrom in @guardian on new @FSECommission study that shows how current food systems destroy more value than they create due to hidden medical&environmental costs.https://t.co/uhfgXSwOyD— Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research PIK (@PIK_Climate) January 30, 2024
Nature in Europe is dying— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) January 30, 2024
81% of protected habitats, 39% protected birds and 63% of other protected species are in a bad state
Modest measures in EU nature restoration law to give just 4% farmers land for nature will not be implemented any time soon https://t.co/ELas9yF0tG
83% of English rivers have evidence of high pollution from sewage and agriculture https://t.co/N2XkHQh4gD— Guardian Environment (@guardianeco) January 30, 2024
From our archives: There are more than 400 dead zones in the world’s oceans, all largely the result of fertilizer runoff.— Yale Environment 360 (@YaleE360) January 30, 2024
The largest dead zone, located in the Baltic Sea, often covers more than 20,000 square miles.https://t.co/bYnCgtJjXY
EU will force cosmetic companies to pay to reduce microplastic pollution https://t.co/tvnS6pOgBR— Blue Planet Society (@Seasaver) January 30, 2024
The wealthiest 16% of humanity is responsible for 74 % of excess energy & material use.— Sophie Gabrielle (@CodeRedEarth) January 30, 2024
"We argue that trying to fix an accelerating problem with slow solutions is itself the problem. Instead, we need to treat the root causes of ecological overshoot and its behavioural drivers." pic.twitter.com/ZeI0sv7uKC
Night Thoughts— Green is a mission (@Greenisamissio1) January 30, 2024
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/PGUS2AWqho
More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:
Morning Moment of Zen 🌄: Wake up to this gorgeous view of a fiery sunrise near Mount Rainier, Washington. pic.twitter.com/MM4T98qAOF— AccuWeather (@accuweather) January 30, 2024
"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home."❤️💙💚🌱☘️🌿🌳🌲🍀💚— Green is a mission (@Greenisamissio1) January 30, 2024
Our leaders, governments and decision-makers should remember this‼️ pic.twitter.com/X5H8CWgsYq
Slowly, the working week is getting shorter and the weekend is getting closer. A short virtual stop to relax on the journey of life.💚🌱☘️🌿🌳🌲🍀💚 pic.twitter.com/NK2C1tkAhM— Green is a mission (@Greenisamissio1) January 31, 2024