WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden will announce new fracking bans on federal property, as well as a climate summit held by the US in April, as part of a sequence of measures aimed at raising global temperatures.
According to a statement, the federal government would pause proposed oil and gas leasing on national lands or coastal waters “to the extent possible,” and review current leases.
During the election cycle, especially in the swing state of Pennsylvania, where fracking contributed to a natural gas boom, the problem was politically volatile.
By 2030, the US will also promise to protect 30% of all federal land and water, part of an international drive to combat the depletion of habitats and counter climate change.
Other measures include the recognition of climate considerations as an important component of US foreign policy and national security, the resurrection of the Presidential Council of Scientific Advisers, the guiding of investment organisations in areas with strong economic connections to fossil fuels, and the assistance of communities adversely affected by environmental disruption.
A Science Honesty Presidential Memorandum would instruct agencies to make decisions informed by the best data available.
On April 22nd, Earth Day and also the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement signing ceremony, the US will also declare a US-hosted Climate Leaders’ Summit.
According to a 2018 government survey, almost a quarter of American carbon dioxide emissions come from electricity generated on public lands.
According to official reports, drilling generated $11.7 billion in revenue in 2019.
Consequently, the proposals are crucial moves towards Biden’s campaign promises to shift away from fossil fuels on the path to net zero emissions in the power sector by 2035 and the economy as a whole by 2050.
Taken together, the steps are “consistent with President Biden and Vice President Harris, starting here at home, raising global climate ambitions,” said Sherri Goodman, deputy undersecretary of environmental protection protection under former president Barack Obama.
Oceana, a non-profit organisation, called for Biden to move on and turn the suspension into a ban.
It released a report that concluded that making permanent offshore drilling safeguards for unleased federal waters could prevent greenhouse gas pollution of over 19 billion tonnes and damage of more than $720 billion.
We will simultaneously fight climate change and preserve our clean coastal economy by permanently shielding our coastline from polluted offshore drilling and advancing clean energy sources such as offshore wind,” said Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins.
The plans, however, have caused a backlash from the fossil fuel industry.
Mike Sommers, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said, ‘Limiting production on federal lands and waterways is nothing more than a’ import more crude’ scheme.’
Energy demand will continue to grow, particularly as the economy recovers, and we can choose to generate the energy here in the United States or rely on foreign nations that are hostile to American interests.
The Global Resources Institute’s David Waskow said the proposed April 22 summit is an impetus for a fresh multilateral climate drive, after four years under Donald Trump.
“This will be an opportunity for the US to come to the table with others to advance the agenda and kind of add to the drumbeat on the way to COP26,” he told AFP at the UN environment conference to be held in Glasgow later this year.
At the summit, the US will also be able to increase its Paris agreement goals and theoretically seek to minimise gross greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50 percent by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.
Biden, who next month will be pursuing Legislative renewable infrastructure packages that could run up to $2 trillion or more, will face electoral threats from Republicans.
But Goodman, now a senior fellow at the Global Change and Protection Program at the Wilson Center, said she saw prospects for bipartisanship.
She said, noting that there has been increased awareness of the reality of climate change, “Remember that states such as Texas and Wyoming also have huge wind potential.”
“Faster meltdown of polar ice, retreat of sea ice, collapse of permafrost and higher temperatures all underscore the importance of recognising climate as an essential component of our foreign policy and planning for national security.”