A Free-Market Energy Blog

Biden Goes LNG for the EU (demoting ‘net zero’)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 1, 2022

“The United States and the EU are working jointly towards continued, sufficient, and timely supply of natural gas to the EU from diverse sources across the globe to avoid supply shocks…. The United States is already the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU.” (White House, January 28, 2022)

Bucket Brigade: Out of the nearly six dozen U.S. LNG cargoes on the water, more than half are headed to Europe where natural gas prices and tensions are high over Ukraine and Russia.” Bloomberg, January 28, 2022)

A flotilla of U.S. LNG carriers are steaming to Europe to help rescue the UK and other nations who have discouraged natural gas under climate policy.

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Far from hiding this development (it is an affront to the climate narrative), the Biden Administration faced the facts with ill-fitting net zero language. Here is the press release (with the net-zero narrative italicized).

Joint Statement by President Biden and President von der Leyen on U.S.-EU Cooperation on Energy Security (January 28, 2022)

We are jointly committed to Europe’s energy security and sustainability and to accelerating the global transition to clean energy. We also share the objective of ensuring the energy security of Ukraine and the progressive integration of Ukraine with the EU gas and electricity markets.

The EU and the United States cooperate closely…. The current challenges to European security underscore our commitment to accelerating and carefully managing the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy….

The European Commission will intensify work with Member States for security of supply, within transparent and competitive gas markets in a manner compatible with long-term climate goals and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

While that process intensifies during this critical decade, we are committed to working closely together to overcome today’s challenges of security of supply and high prices in energy markets.

We commit to intensifying our strategic energy cooperation for security of supply and will work together to make available reliable, and affordable energy supplies to citizens and businesses in the EU and its neighborhood.  

The United States and the EU are working jointly towards continued, sufficient, and timely supply of natural gas to the EU from diverse sources across the globe to avoid supply shocks, including those that could result from a further Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The United States is already the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU. We are collaborating with governments and market operators on supply of additional volumes of natural gas to Europe from diverse sources across the globe. LNG in the short-term can enhance security of supply while we continue to enable the transition to net zero emissions. The European Commission will work for improved transparency and utilization of LNG terminals in the EU….

More broadly, we call on all major energy producer countries to join us in ensuring world energy markets are stable and well-supplied. This work has already started….

Environmentalists vs. LNG Exports

With our “freedom molecules” rescuing Europe, environmental elitists are working against the natural-gas-export industry. “LNG exports are harming Americans now,” states the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in a Motion to Intervene in regard to an expansion of a Freeport LNG facility in Texas.

Their protest is couched in consumer terms (less supply for home consumers), but the real motivation is to lower U.S.-side prices to keep more natural gas in the ground.

Then the climate argument becomes explicit:

LNG exports will also harm Americans for generations. Freeport seeks to increase its LNG exports through 2050. But well before 2050, the world must have fully transitioned to net zero emissions, as the U.S.—and the world—recently affirmed in Glasgow.5 There is no place for LNG in that future.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C “requires rapid, deep and sustained
reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions,” including intermediate steps such as “reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.”6 Global LNG export volumes must decline below present levels in the near future: as the International Energy Agency recently affirmed, further expansion of LNG export facilities cannot be part of the path to net-zero emissions.

Air pollution (CO2 is not a pollutant, remember) is the third reason:

The proposed exports will further harm Sierra Club and NRDC members by increasing gas production and associated air pollution…. As DOE has recognized, increasing LNG exports will increase gas production, and increasing gas production increases ozone pollution, including risking creation of new or expanded ozone non-attainment areas or exacerbating existing non-attainment.

FLEX has previously explained that it “anticipates that much of the … feed gas” for its project “will be incremental production within Texas, largely from the South Texas (Eagle Ford) shale.” Sierra Club’s 23,334 members in Texas are already subject to harmful levels of ozone, including ozone caused by oil and gas production. This particularly includes’ Sierra Club’s 6,057 members residing with the Dallas-Fort Worth ozone non-attainment area.11 NRDC’s 9,600 members in Texas are similarly affected.

Increasing export volumes will also necessarily increase shipping traffic beyond levels that would otherwise occur

The Sierra Club/NRDC brief concludes on the climate rationale:

Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require dramatic emission reductions in the near and long term, reductions which are inconsistent with further development of long-lived fossil fuel infrastructure in the U.S. or abroad, as confirmed by the International
Energy Agency, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and others.

Executive Order 14,008 appropriately instructs federal agencies to work to discourage other countries from “high carbon investments” or “intensive fossil fuel-based energy.” The lifecycle analyses argue that the infrastructure needed to receive and use U.S. LNG is not higher emitting than other sources of fossil fuel, but the analyses do not inform decision-makers or the public whether facilities to use U.S. LNG are nonetheless such a “high-carbon,” “intensive” source of emission that they must be discouraged.

Ultimately, the United States and nations around the globe have set ambitious but necessary goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions during the proposed authorization period.

One Comment for “Biden Goes LNG for the EU (demoting ‘net zero’)”

  1. John W. Garrett  

    Brandon speaks with a forked tongue.


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