Source: The Guardian
More than 200 nations pledged last week in Dubai that they would be “transitioning away from from fossil fuels”. Some cheered and some scoffed; we’ll soon know if the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas – the United States – meant what it signed, or if it was just more (literal) hot air.
That’s because the US Department of Energy (DoE) must decide whether to stop rubber-stamping the single biggest fossil-fuel expansion on earth, the buildout of natural gas exports from the Gulf of Mexico. So far they have granted every export license anyone has requested, and as a result the US has become the biggest gas exporter on planet earth. If they keep it up, the veteran energy analyst Jeremy Symons says that before long US liquefied natural gas exports will produce more greenhouse gases than everything that happens on the continent of Europe.
They should have stopped long ago – in part because of the damage these giant terminals are doing to the people, the fish and the air of Louisiana and Texas. But if the DoE keeps approving these licenses now, it will fly in the face of their promise in Dubai. “Transitioning away from fossil fuels” doesn’t mean stopping all use of coal, gas and oil tomorrow; sadly, that’s impossible. But it clearly means not building new infrastructure to expand the production and sale of hydrocarbons.