The Biden Administration’s Focus on Climate Change Continues To Undermine American Prosperity
This week, Team Biden was in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26. There, they continued their efforts to make climate change the top organizing priority of the Biden Administration. This obsession with unrealistic climate change-centered goals directly harms ordinary Americans and imperils U.S. economic and national security. Climate change has become the “religion” of the Biden Administration that drives all of their socialist policies.
Of the White House’s proposed $2 trillion spending plan, about $500 billion is devoted to climate-related spending in the form of subsidies and tax credits. Team Biden surely plans to tout this on the international stage as proof of their climate commitment. What these actions really mean, though, is that they are raising taxes on the American people and driving up the cost of energy for them in order to appease global leaders and climate activists. Many other world leaders, particularly those of our adversaries in China and Russia, are all too happy to see the United States and our allies cripple our economies to satisfy our quixotic climate agenda.
The Biden Administration’s climate plan has already had a negative impact on the United States’ economy. Gas prices have soared in recent months: The average price nationwide has risen 40 cents a gallon in the last six months and $1 since December, and crude oil prices have doubled since November. These consequences are very much attributable to the Biden Administration’s decisions to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, suspend new drilling leases on federal lands and waters, and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, which cripples our energy sector. Even as we come out of the pandemic, American gas and oil companies are hesitant to ramp up production with an Administration in power that is hostile to their businesses. We have gone from an energy-independent country back to dependency on foreign sources of oil, risking our national security. Americans are out of work and the costs of living are rising, but all Team Biden seems to care about are what climate activists in Glasgow think. Rising inflation – particularly energy prices for gas, home heating oil and electricity – disproportionately impact the poor, most of whom don’t have the luxury of working from home.
This Administration’s policy objectives are mismatched with reality. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projected back in 2017 that world energy consumption will increase by 28% by 2040. Renewable sources of energy, which climate activists love to point to as the future of the energy sector, simply cannot fill that gap. What will result is an America that is dependent on foreign powers for their energy needs rather than an America that is energy independent, as was the case under the Trump Administration. In fact, that’s what is happening right now – in recent months the Biden Administration has implored OPEC to produce more oil to keep prices from skyrocketing. They’ve made us dependent on a foreign oil cartel to meet our energy demands while killing our own supply. That’s unacceptable. Pursuing the policies of the Green New Deal will only cause the United States and our allies to rely on Russia and OPEC for our energy needs.
Regarding global efforts on climate change, Vice President Kamala Harris stated in advance of the COP26 summit that “[w]e cannot afford . . . to be incremental. We cannot afford to be patient.” But what about middle-class Americans who won’t be able to afford their electric bill this winter as a result of the Biden Administration’s obsession with climate change? How about ordinary Americans who are paying an extra dollar a gallon for gas every time they fill up? Team Biden claims to be pursuing a “foreign policy for the middle class,” but their policies thus far have only hurt the middle and working class.
The Trump Administration pursued energy policies that made sense. We rolled back scores of cumbersome federal regulations on the oil and natural gas industry; and as a result, natural gas companies were able to operate more profitably, invest more freely in research and development, and the United States became the number one producer of oil and natural gas in 2020. The United States’ energy independence makes the cost of living cheaper for Americans while not causing us to rely excessively on foreign powers to meet our energy needs. Renewable sources of energy should, of course, be pursued where practical, but the United States should be focused on leading our allies in cultivating energy independence from Russia and Iran, not letting them pump our oil for us while we tilt at windmills.
We should be mindful of the environment, but private sector innovation will best solve the climate problem, not massive government regulation. And we should not expect the United States to solve a global problem on the backs of its citizens while China continues to grow its carbon footprint at an ever-accelerating rate. We cannot allow climate change to become the new “religion” guiding every policy decision or be the organizing feature of our government. Progressive, clean energy policy is as much about political control and power as it is about saving the planet. Make no mistake: The future of the United States’ energy, both short and long term, must involve oil and natural gas.