Would Joe Biden try to flirt with his environmentalist wing? In the midst of the presidential campaign, the American head of state announced this Friday, January 26, a moratorium on the construction of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals. A decision which marks a real halt for this accelerating industry. “This pause on LNG [terminal] authorizations takes into account what the climate crisis really is: an existential threat,” the president wrote in a press release.
However, the Green Party of the United States considers this decision by the American president to be insignificant. Greens urged President Biden to go beyond suspending the approval of LNG (liquefied natural gas) facilities such as Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) and enact a permanent halt to all new fossil fuel infrastructure and a rapid phaseout of existing fossil fuel uses. Earlier today the Biden Administration announced it will pause approval on new liquefied natural gas exports while it reassesses the climate and economic impacts of these projects.
The Party also said that all projects and permits reviewed by the federal government had to be evaluated for its climate impact. The world has run out of time to keep global warming below the 1.5-degree C target, with 2023’s record heat almost at that level. The Green Party also said the federal government needed to move dramatically faster in ensuring environmental justice in communities such as Cancer Alley where such projects have largely been sited.
With less than a year remaining in his term, the Green Party once again urged President Biden to take decisive and comprehensive executive action, starting with a declaration of a climate emergency. The government needs to speed up the transition to a clean energy future while working to protect the well-being of all humans and other species. (see ClimatePresident.org)
“When it comes to dealing with the fires of climate change, the Democrats respond by throwing more money onto it while Trump and the GOP dump gasoline to spark it up. Biden needs to listen to the warmings of the UN Secretary-General who has declared that the slow climate action by governments, starting with the US have resulted in the opening of the gates of hell,” said Green Party co-chair Joey Naham.
If approved, CP2 would emit 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions than the controversial Willow oil drilling project in Alaska, and the more than 20 LNG export facilities planned for the U.S. Gulf Coast would release more climate pollution annually than the European Union. The EcoAction Committee of the party has been helping to promote the planned February 6 to 8 civil disobedience against LNG at the Department of Energy in DC (now apparently canceled).
The Green Party criticized Biden for using the Ukraine War to drive up record profits to the fossil fuel industry with higher prices for American consumers. Leaders of both the Democrats and Republicans have pushed policies to make the US the largest producer of fossil fuels. Third Act founder and leading climate activist Bill McKibben had called for “Heat Pumps for Peace and Freedom” — heat pumps instead of LNG exports to Europe. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden should have invoked the Defense Production Act to make American manufacturers radically ramp up production of electric heat pumps for shipment to Europe.
Biden did nothing until November 2023 when he used the Defense Production Act to steer a token $169 million of climate funding for heat pumps for domestic use. The Ecosocialist Green New Deal Budget of the Party’s 2020 presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins, estimated that we needed $200 billion a year spent on heat pumps and associated retrofitting to get completely off of gas heating in 10 years as part of a 10-year rapid transition to 100% clean energy. Hawkins helped launch the Green New Deal including a strong economic bill of rights in his 2010 race for Governor of New York.
Many Greens and other European Parliament members have publicly written to Biden that “We are concerned that a false depiction of European energy needs is now being used as an excuse by the fossil fuel industry and their allies to dramatically expand US LNG exports to the global market. Europe should not be used as an excuse to expand LNG exports that threaten our shared climate and have dire impacts on US communities. The demand for new gas from industry voices in Europe is a false one, designed to lock in the construction of new, polluting infrastructure that will quickly become stranded assets, the costs of which will be passed onto the public. The construction of new LNG infrastructure would also be in direct contradiction to the commitment made by both the European Union and the United States at COP28 to accelerate action in this critical decade to transition away from fossil fuels.”