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Democrats and climate activists generally backed President Joe Biden’s decision to release a record 50 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic Reserve, even as the move appears to contradict his long-term approach to tackling climate change. it happens.


The US action, announced on Tuesday in coordination with countries such as India, the United Kingdom and China, is aimed at helping global energy markets and easing gasoline prices by more than a dollar per gallon from January. But it could also undermine Biden’s climate goals, which include cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.

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related: Biden to release 50 million barrels of oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve at lower prices

However, some prominent climate hawkers said they were not concerned with the move as they see it as a short-term solution to meet a specific problem. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who has focused on combating climate change, said Biden was “taking effective action to protect Americans from rising oil prices” even The administration continues to promote renewable energy, which it hopes will eventually mean less reliance on fossil fuels.

“This is what reserves are for – protecting our economy against disruption,” Markey tweeted. “Profiteering cannot go unanswered, especially as Big Oil makes billions and fuels the climate crisis through exports.”

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an emergency reserve to maintain access to oil in case of natural disasters, national security issues, and other events. Maintained by the Department of Energy, the reserves are stored in caves formed in salt domes along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. The reserve holds about 605 million barrels of petroleum.

An oil pumpjack operates at Signal Hill, south of Los Angeles, California, on April 21, 2020, a day after oil prices plunged below zero as the oil industry fell sharply to benchmark crude due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic encounters. (Fo

Markey and other Democrats had urged Biden to release oil from the reserve in order to lower prices on consumers. The president has also been called upon to reinstate the ban on crude exports that was lifted in 2015. Biden has made no move to reimpose the export ban, which was repealed by congressional Republicans to assert US energy dominance and promote domestic. Production.

Biden has the authority under the law to declare a state of emergency and limit or halt oil exports for up to a year, but is not expected to do so.

Kelly Sheehan, the Sierra Club’s senior director of energy campaigns, praised Biden’s actions to ease Americans’ energy burdens. But she said the current jump in oil prices was a reminder that “the only way to truly achieve energy security is to make a rapid transition from risky fossil fuels like oil and gas and to increase access to clean energy for more people.” To make it easy.”

Lorne Stockman, director of research at Oil Change International, an environmental group focused on creating a “fossil-free future”, said Biden should act sooner, if only to counter a barrage of Republican criticism he received from the high court. Be blamed for gasoline prices.

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“Presidents are always to blame for high gas prices, whether they have anything to do with it or not,” Stockman said, a small step to bring short-term relief to American consumers.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said the rise in gas prices made the move necessary and that it would not detract from his larger ambitions to move toward energy independence.

“My effort to combat climate change is not raising the price of gas,” Biden said. “What it is doing is increasing the availability of jobs manufacturing electric cars at a GM factory in Detroit last week….

Americans who buy an electric car will save up to $1,000 in fuel costs this year, Biden said, “and we’re going to pass those savings on to more Americans and jobs by installing solar panels, batteries and electric heat pumps.” When we do so our economy and consumers are less vulnerable to this type of price hike.”

Biden said the White House was looking into potential prices by oil companies squeezing customers while making money at low costs. And Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said US companies are keeping production below pre-pandemic levels to boost profits.

The coronavirus pandemic has rocked energy markets. As the April 2020 close began, demand fell and oil futures turned negative. Energy traders didn’t want to be stuck with crude they couldn’t store. But as the economy recovered, prices hit a seven-year high in October.

related: 11 Democratic lawmakers tell Biden to dip into Strategic Petroleum Reserves to cushion gas price hikes

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Vyo. Called OPEC and Russia to increase production, as well as the use of Biden’s strategic reserve, “desperate efforts to address the Biden-caused disaster” and no substitute for increasing US energy production.

Lucas Ross, manager of climate and energy justice at Friends of the Earth, another environmental group, said the rise in gas prices shows that “our continued reliance on a volatile compound that is literally cooking up the climate is precisely why.” that we need” Biden’s comprehensive social and environmental bill to be approved as soon as possible.

The $2 trillion bill, approved in the House and pending in the Senate, includes nearly $550 billion for climate change efforts, including proposals to promote wind and solar power and support electric vehicles. . Republicans unanimously oppose the measure.

Biden has said the US needs to transition away from oil dependence, and “now is the moment to deliver on that promise by accelerating the transition to electric cars and a renewable energy grid,” said Kasi Siegel, director of a Climate Law Institute . Center for Biological Diversity, another environmental group.

“Price volatility will always be part of Big Oil’s playbook,” she said. “Let’s break our hold on our economy forever.”