By Craig Rucker
Within hours of taking office, President Biden made the supposed “climate crisis” his central focus and elimination of fossil fuels his primary “solution.”
To show he meant it, Biden undertook several radical measures right off the bat. First, he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline; then revoked leases and permits in Alaska and offshore areas; then he slowed or blocked leasing, drilling and fracking projects and pressured banks not to lend money to fossil fuel projects. His pick for Comptroller of the Currency (since withdrawn) wanted to nationalize our banking system, control energy and food prices, and bankrupt the petroleum industry.
The President also declared his ultimate goal: 80% hydrocarbon-free electricity generation by 2030, 100% by 2035, and all fossil fuel use eliminated nationwide by 2050. That means no coal or natural gas for generating electricity; no gasoline or diesel for vehicles; and no natural gas for factories, or for heating, cooking, water heating or emergency power in homes, hospitals, schools and businesses.
From all appearances, it seems the Administration is seeking to drag the US down – in the name of fairness, equity and climate stability – by eradicating the carbon-based fuels that provide 80% of all energy that powers America. They seem to think we Americans live too well, consume too much and are responsible for every severe weather event around the globe.
Have all their anti-energy policies had an impact? You betcha.
Regular gasoline averaged $2.17 per gallon in 2020 – and $3.49 in November 2021. It now costs $17 more to fill your tank than a year ago.
Natural gas prices shot from $2.61 in November 2020 on the Henry Hub to $5.51 in October 2021. Depending on how cold it gets, families will pay 30-50% more this winter to stay warm. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are advancing a regressive home heating stealth tax, in the form of new fees on methane production that will rise to $1,500 per ton of methane by 2025.
Natural gas is a primary ingredient in fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals, as well as in plastic packaging, pharmaceuticals, and hundreds of other products. No wonder liquid fertilizer prices have skyrocketed from $165 per ton delivered to Indiana farmers in October 2020 – to $550 a ton last month.
Animal feed costs are thus also in the stratosphere. So it’s no surprise that beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and farmed fish prices are also soaring.
How has the administration responded? President Biden wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate oil companies for possible “criminal conduct” and “profiteering.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki blamed “corporate greed” for soaring meat and poultry prices.
Mr. Biden’s Energy and Transportation Secretaries literally laughed off concerns about gasoline prices –saying families should just buy electric vehicles, which cost $50,000 to $100,000.
The President begged OPEC and Russia to boost their oil and gas production to help roll back prices – while he keeps America’s bounteous fossil fuels locked in the ground. They refused, and prices keep rising. So Mr. Biden recently took a different tack.
He now wants US oil companies to put more drilling rigs to work and increase drilling and production on leases they already have – despite the new regulations, fees and government foot-dragging, and despite Climate Envoy John Kerry and others pressuring banks and financial institutions to deny loans and refuse to invest in oil and gas companies.
American must switch to wind, solar and battery power, Team Biden insists. Prices are coming down, and they don’t pollute or need pipelines.
Wind, solar, and battery systems are heavily subsidized, via taxes and hidden fees. They aren’t subjected to the environmental studies, standards, lawsuits and penalties that apply to oil, gas, coal, and nuclear projects. Approvals are granted with minimal consideration of impacts on wildlife habitats and scenic vistas, raptor and bat deaths, or damage to human and animal health from subsonic turbine noise.
Those technologies are “clean, renewable, sustainable” we’re told. Right, only if we ignore the rampant pollution, habitat destruction, and child labor associated with mining and processing their non-renewable raw materials – all using fossil fuels and taking place overseas, mostly in China and Africa.
Moreover, notes Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., replacing all US fossil fuel use with electricity would require over five million 2.5-megawatt wind turbines, 650 feet tall, covering two-thirds of the continental USA – or solar panels sprawling across 40% of America – and thousands of miles of new transmission lines.
The Biden Administration’s claims and plans are beyond parody. Families and small businesses are already paying dearly. Prices are skyrocketing – not just for energy, but for all products and services. Inflation is at its highest level in 39 years, and the Producer Price Index rose nearly 10% since November 2020.
It’s time for the rest of America’s political class to quit being so callously indifferent.