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Biden’s oil comments spark debate over energy production


Nepalnews
2023 Feb 09, 11:52, Washington

US President Joe Biden sparked a firestorm in energy circles when he said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that the United States will need oil “for at least another decade.″

Republicans in the US House chamber laughed in derision at Biden’s off-the-cuff remark, which was not in his scripted speech. GOP lawmakers accused the Democratic president of refusing to accept reality and “living in a green hallucination,″ as Montana Sen. Steve Daines put it.

“President Biden implied tonight America would not produce oil beyond the next decade. If you believe that, you have missed a lot and live in a dream world. God help America,″ Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a tweet.

But environmentalists and some Democrats supported Biden, saying the U.S. needs a plan to wean itself off oil and other fossil fuels — the sooner, the better.

“I think the president is right,″ said Collin Rees, a senior campaigner for the green group Oil Change International. “We can’t continue to pretend we’re reducing (greenhouse gas) emissions without addressing oil production, and that means phasing out fossil fuels.″

“If we’re going to save our future, we need a transition away from dirty, expensive and deadly fossil fuels, and we need to be speeding up — not slowing down,” added Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

Biden made the comment as he touted a landmark law to slow climate change. The law he signed last year — supported only by Democrats — authorizes hundreds of billions of dollars to boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power and help consumers buy electric vehicles and energy-efficient appliances.

The law is a key part of Biden’s ambitious bid to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Most experts say the net-zero goal is unlikely to be fully achieved even under the most optimistic scenarios.

Phasing out oil within a decade is virtually impossible, said energy analyst Kevin Book.

“I think the White House may want to workshop the ad-libs” before Biden speaks, Book joked Wednesday, adding that no serious analyst believes oil can be completely phased out in a matter of years.

“We rely on oil and gas for 85 to 90 percent of transportation energy,″ he said. Electric vehicles, while growing in popularity, represent less than 6% of new U.S. car sales.

Even the U.S. government agrees that oil and gas will likely be needed for decades to come. The Energy Information Administration, a statistical and research arm of the Energy Department, projects that U.S. energy consumption will increase over the next 30 years as population and economic growth outpace energy efficiency gains.

Petroleum and natural gas are likely to remain the nation’s largest energy sources through 2050, the EIA said in a report last year, even as renewable energy such as wind and solar power are the fastest growing.

The White House said Biden’s comments were in line with statements he and other administration officials have made previously — namely that the U.S. is in the midst of an energy transition and will continue to need oil.


READ ALSO:

Joe Biden State of the Union Oil House chamber Oil Change International climate change Greenhouse Gas Emissions White House Fossil Fuels
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