Gas prices have officially doubled under the Biden administration. In parts of California, gas is selling at $10 a gallon. This is neither the result of price gouging nor the war in Ukraine, but rather President Joe Biden pushing extreme environmentalism on the American people. He has argued that the high gas prices are a part of an “incredible transition,” but in reality, the transition to expensive, unreliable energy sources is unnecessary.
Solving skyrocketing energy prices, bolstering national security and improving the environment is not rocket science. But it does require focusing on tangible issues with practical solutions while supporting continued innovation and economic growth. It must be built on achievable outcomes that will protect Americans today and deliver measurable improvements in the future.
This past week, the Republican Task Force on Energy, Climate, and Conservation released a plan that will produce a cleaner, safer and healthier environment for all Americans. Perhaps the best part is that it does not require an artificial transition premised on weathering economic hardship through suppressed supply chains or pain at the pump.
The Republican strategy focuses on six key pillars: Unlocking America’s Resources, Beating China and Russia, Letting America Build, Building Resilient Communities, American Innovation, and Conservation with a Purpose. Over the next two months, Republicans promise to unveil a series of policy plans to accompany each category. It’s refreshing to see thoughtful solutions to the problems Americans face coming from Washington instead of the fake sympathy and blame we’ve had to endure from the White House.
For too long, environmentalism has been defined by extremism and the woke left. These eco-activists and their Democrat allies have sold climate change as a crisis where the only cure is socialist government. They have pushed prohibitive policies aimed at shutting down energy projects and related development. The Keystone XL cancellation and regional bans on oil and gas development in Alaska are a few examples.
One recent analysis found that since the start of the Biden administration, the president and Democrat leadership in Congress have taken 100 different actions that make it harder to produce oil and gas in the U.S. Thirty-two of these anti-oil and gas actions have occurred after Russia invaded Ukraine, when the president promised Americans he’d “work like the devil to bring gas prices down.”
The reality is that pushing energy development and jobs out of the U.S. does not mean the demand goes away. Instead, it is met by production that occurs in other, higher polluting countries like Russia, India, China and Venezuela. Despite what they may represent on paper, these countries will not set aside geopolitical ambitions or economic development in the name of climate change. Chinese policymakers, for example, recently approved a coal mine capacity expansion of an additional 300 million metric tons in 2022. As one article pointed out, this is almost equivalent to the annual production of the entire European Union.
The Energy Information Administration estimates that world energy consumption is expected to grow by nearly 50% between 2020 and 2050. Traditional energy sources including coal, oil and natural gas make up over 80% of global demand. The more we can meet this growing demand by production here in the U.S., the better it will be for our economy and the environment.
Throughout our 170-year relationship with fossil-based energy in this country, we’ve refined the process of extraction and significantly reduced its environmental impact. Alongside these technological improvements, we have experienced once unfathomable benefits: millions have been lifted out of abject poverty, life expectancy has more than doubled, the presence of starvation and malnutrition has been significantly curbed, and access to modern medicine has greatly expanded.
Breakthrough technologies in the oil and gas industry are why we continue to lead the world in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Hydraulic fracturing coupled with the development and integration of advanced pollution control devices has led the U.S. to achieve the “largest absolute decline” in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions of any country since 2000.
For a more prosperous future, we need more reliable, affordable energy extracted, refined and consumed here in the U.S. The Republican plan is a good start for getting America back on track, which will deliver wins for the environment and the economy — and relief to Americans’ pocketbooks.
Mandy Gunasekara is a senior policy analyst for Independent Women’s Voice and the former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.