A report from the Center for Biological Diversity demonstrates what many of us have feared—that carbon emissions from Biden-approved fossil fuel projects will cancel out the expected CO2 reductions from the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Approving more fossil fuels not only torches our climate future, but it also harms people’s health, degrades ecosystems, and threatens wildlife,” writes Shaye Wolf, the lead author. “The potential carbon emissions from 17 massive fossil fuel projects approved by the Biden administration are larger than the projected emissions reductions from the IRA and other climate policies.”
Those 17 projects have the potential to release emissions totaling 1,642 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, or the same as the annual emissions of 440 coal-fired power plants.
(Image: Center for Biological Diversity)
As CBD notes, “Under the Biden administration, the United States is the world’s largest oil and gas producer. Last year it became the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied gas, with exports set to nearly double by 2035. The United States is also leading the world’s largest planned expansion of oil and gas through 2050, at the exact moment we need to be moving in the opposite direction.” But the report’s authors also point out that IRA goals can be supported by halting the approval of new fossil fuel projects and phasing out drilling on public lands and waters.
The report identifies five “essential actions” the Biden administration can take:
- Stop approvals of new fossil fuel projects like the massive CP2 liquefied natural gas export terminal slated for the Gulf Coast;
- Revoke permits for the Willow oil drilling project, Mountain Valley Pipeline, and other projects;
- Revise the offshore oil leasing five-year plan to include no new leases;
- Phase out oil and gas production on public lands and waters by instituting a managed phase-down policy; and
- Declare a national climate emergency.