Chas Macquarie: Blame the market, not Biden for high oil prices
Guy Farmer’s continued repetition of oil and gas industry propaganda is disappointing. Once in a while, it would be nice to have an opinion based on facts. Let’s consider some questions and answers:
Q: Which administration approved oil and gas leases at a faster rate: Biden’s or Trump’s?
A: Much to the dismay of many, and despite his promise to stop new leases on public lands, Biden has outstripped Trump in issuing drilling permits on public lands.
Q: How much public land is currently open for oil and gas drilling?
A: Over 26 million acres are leased to the oil and gas industry. Nearly 13.9 million (53%) of these acres are not in production. In the United States, there is no shortage of land available for oil and gas exploration and production.
Q: Who determines the rate of oil and gas production in the United States: the oil companies or the administration?
A: The oil companies. They produce oil and gas based on economic factors, not administrative policies.
Q: Is the United States self-sufficient in oil and gas production?
A: Yes; kind of. According to the US Energy Information Administration, more oil and gas is produced in the United States than is consumed in the United States. However, part of this production is exported to other countries and imports are needed to fill the gap. If all the oil and gas produced in the United States were consumed in the United States, we wouldn’t need to import it.
Q: If the United States produces enough oil and gas to meet our needs, why have prices risen so much in the past six months?
A: Oil and gas production is a complex international market. If global demand for energy exceeds supply, the price increases. It is increasing all over the world and the oil companies are making more money. Price increases are not due to current administrative policies. To say this shows a blatant misunderstanding of how the global economy works.
Q: What is the best way to deal with the sharp rise in fossil fuel prices?
A: The immediate goal is to produce more oil and gas. But in the long run, we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and switch to clean energy sources that won’t be subject to the wild price swings we are currently experiencing. We must make the United States truly independent in clean energy production and break our dependence on world oil. We need to accelerate the transition to clean energy production and make America a leader in this area.
Q: What could this energy transition look like?
A: We will need fossil fuels for some time in the future. But the burning of fossil fuels releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide and methane that is warming our planet at the fastest rate in many centuries. This drives the increase in disasters we see every year – more wildfires and smoke, more floods, more intense hurricanes, rising sea levels, more deaths from increased rates of heatstroke, asthma and COPD, to name a few.
If we continue on the current fossil fuel path, all of these detrimental impacts will be much worse in just a few decades. Last year, the International Energy Agency signaled that if we are to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, all nations must immediately stop approving new coal-fired power plants and new oil fields. and gas and quickly eliminate gasoline-powered vehicles. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 69% of Americans want Congress and the administration to make the development of clean energy sources a high priority and move the US economy to 100% clean energy by 2050.
We must make the energy transition as soon as possible so as not to burden our grandchildren with poor health and the enormous cost of cleaning up after multiple disasters. Economists overwhelmingly agree that the best way to do this is to put a price on carbon pollution and return the money raised to the American people. This concept is known as Carbon Fee and Dividend. Learn more about it here: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/dividend-delivery-study/ Call, text or email the senses. Cortez Masto and Rosen and Rep. Amodei and ask them to support this policy.
Chas Macquarie is a resident of Carson City.