Over the past few years, the United States government has paid lip service to the idea of shifting away from the dirty energy sources that are causing incalculable harm to our planet.
However, the numbers tell a different story, as the U.S. is on track to extract more oil and gas than ever before in 2023, with no plans of putting an end to these destructive industries.
What is happening?
However, referring to these policies as a “clean energy transition” is not entirely accurate when the United States remains the world’s leading producer and consumer of oil, accounting for over 20% of the world total in both categories.
Even more worryingly, the Guardian reported that the U.S. expects to allow oil and gas companies to continue ramping up production until 2050, the deadline set for net-zero emissions by the Paris Agreement.
“The U.S. is locking in production for years that makes it hard to meet climate goals,” Michael Lazarus, a senior scientist at Stockholm Environment Institute, told the Guardian. “It’s out of sync, and it needs reckoning.”
Why is this concerning?
While greenlighting more clean energy projects is a step in the right direction, it is meaningless without a phase-out of the dirty energy sources that wind and solar are meant to replace.
Wind and solar power do not clean the environment on their own. They are intended as alternatives to the energy sources that are overheating our planet, degrading the quality of our air, and leading to more frequent and unpredictable extreme weather events.
Without a concerted effort to ramp down dirty energy production, it is impossible to interpret the current administration’s environmentalist policies as anything but symbolic.
“Not only do we produce more oil and gas than any other country, but Team Biden is greenlighting one fossil project after another,” Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said. “The U.S. is devoid of any moral authority to phasing out fossil fuels.”
“They say they want to be leaders on climate but then do the opposite,” Jerome Foster, a climate activist and member of the White House environmental justice advisory council, said. “It’s a mixed record, and it’s really sad to see. President Biden said he would be the climate president, but we aren’t seeing that. He’s not keeping his promises; he’s not got gen Z’s back.”
What can be done about it?
Time is running out for the United States government to begin to take the grave threat that dirty energy poses seriously. Until the people in control of the levers of power are willing to stand up against the influence and bribes of dirty energy lobbyists, the outlook for our planet seems bleak.
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