In 'n verrassende stap, some climate crisis campaigners have praised Joe Biden for ordering the release of emergency oil reserves in an attempt to reduce energy prices across the country.
Op Dinsdag, die president aangekondig the release of a record 50m barrels of oil stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in coordination with other countries including China, India and the UK.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an emergency stockpile to preserve access to oil in case of natural disasters, national security issues and other events. Maintained by the energy department, the reserves, which consist of roughly 605m barrels of petroleum, are stored along the coasts of Texas and the Louisiana Gulf.
“American consumers are feeling the impact of elevated gas prices at the pump and in their home heating bills, and American businesses are, ook, because oil supply has not kept up with demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic,” the White House said in a statement.
The oil release is an attempt by the Biden administration to “lower prices for Americans and address the mismatch between demand exiting the pandemic and supply”.
The move appears to contradict Biden’s long-term goals of addressing the climate crisis, including reaching a net-zero emissions economy and reducing American dependence on foreign fossil fuels, but some environmentalists have come out in support of his decision.
Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who has focused extensively on the climate crisis, praised the Biden administration. “This is what reserves are for – defending our economy against disruption. Profiteering can’t go unanswered, especially as Big Oil makes billions and fuels the climate crisis through exports,” he getwiet on Tuesday.
Markey attributed the surge in oil prices to oil companies and corporate greed, sê: “Some of the upward pressure on oil prices today is directly tied to the fact that oil producers can make more money by producing less oil … the smartest thing we can do to insulate America from future global oil price shocks is to reduce our dependence on oil in general, and especially foreign oil. That means investing in America’s transition to a clean energy future.”
Lorne Stockman, research director of Oil Change International, an environmental group focused on creating a “fossil-free future”, said Biden should have acted sooner, if only to counter a barrage of Republican criticism blaming him for high gasoline prices.
“Presidents are always blamed for high gas prices, whether they have anything to do with it or not,” Stockman said, calling the measure a small step to bring short-term relief to American consumers.
“I don’t see a conflict between having long-term policies on climate change and having a short-term policy that would protect the economic well-being of Americans in need,” Amy Myers Jaffe, managing director of the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University, told Bloomberg.
According to the Automobile Association of America, gas prices are about $3.40 a gallon, verby 50% higher than a year ago. In September, Amerikaners gebruik word an average of 20.7m barrels a day. The 50m-barrel release will provide about two and a half days of additional supply.
Although tapping into federal reserves for more oil may appear counterintuitive to addressing the climate crisis, Biden has insisted that his efforts to fight climate change is not to raise the price of gas. “What it is doing is increasing the availability of jobs building electric cars," hy het gesê.
Americans who purchase electric cars will save up to $1,000 in fuel costs this year, gesê Biden, and “we’re going to put those savings within reach of more Americans and create jobs installing solar panels, batteries and electric heat pumps”.
Kelly Sheehan, senior director of energy campaigns with the environmental organization Sierra Club, praised Biden’s actions but cautioned that the only way to fully attain energy security is to “rapidly transition away from risky fossil fuels like oil and gas and make it easier for more people to access clean energy”.
Vroeër vandeesmaand, Biden beloof het at the Cop26 environmental summit that the US will “lead by example” in tackling the devastating consequences of climate change. Egter, just four days after the landmark talks, the Biden administration launched an auction of over 80m acres of the gulf for fossil fuel extraction, a record sell-off that directly contradicts the president’s previous promise of closing down new drilling on public lands and waters.
In addition to criticizing the auction, environmental groups have condemned die 2,500 new oil and gas permits authorized in the first six months of the Biden administration – a figure Trump’s administration took a year to reach.
Yet despite previous criticisms, many environmental groups regard Biden’s recent announcement as a necessary evil in the long journey to reduce American dependence on fossil fuels and break up the monopoly of oil companies.
“Price volatility will always be part of big oil’s playbook,” gesê Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Let’s break their stranglehold on our economy once and for all.”
Agencies contributed to this report