Obama Touts Climate Change Legacy, Then Takes Credit For US Oil Boom

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

Former President Barack Obama said he was “extraordinarily proud of the Paris accords” before, rather ironically, taking credit for booming U.S. oil and gas production.

“I was extraordinarily proud of the Paris accords because — you know, I know we’re in oil country and we need American energy, and by the way, American energy production,” Obama said at an event hosted by Rice University’s Baker Institute on Tuesday night.

“You wouldn’t always know it but it went up every year I was president,” Obama said of U.S. oil and gas production. “That whole, suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas — that was me, people.”

U.S. oil production nearly doubled between 2009, when Obama took office, to 2016. Natural gas production shot up around 50 percent in that time. However, the boom in production almost exclusively took place on state and private lands where the Obama administration had little to no control.

Republicans criticized Obama for lagging oil and gas production on federally-managed lands, which largely stagnated while production elsewhere boomed due to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Obama did sign legislation in late 2015 ending the decades-old ban on crude oil exports, but at the same time imposed regulations and pursued international policies aiming to move the world away from fossil fuels in the name of fighting global warming.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, Microsoft co-founder Gates, US President Obama, French President Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Modi attend a meeting to launch the 'Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution' at Le Bourget

(L-R) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a meeting to launch the ‘Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution’ on the opening day of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Ian Langsdon.

Obama joined the Paris Agreement in 2016, promising to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent. The Paris accords aimed to keep future global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 through cutting fossil fuel use, including oil. (RELATED: ‘I Don’t See It’: Trump Doubles-Down On Global Warming Skepticism)

President Donald Trump plans on leaving the Paris accord as soon as 2020, and his administration has rolled back Obama-era policies seen as restricting oil and gas production.

The oil boom has continued under Trump, with the U.S. producing a record-setting 11.7 million barrels per day in early November. The U.S. is the world’s largest oil-producing nation, outpacing both Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2018.

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