Big Tent Ideas

DAVID BLACKMON: Having Biden Declare A Climate Emergency Is A Crazy Idea

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David Blackmon David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.
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I recorded a podcast this week in which the host told me I am an “outlier” for being willing to write the truth about the destructive nature of the Biden administration’s energy policies. It was one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me, frankly.

So, I guess I will be an outlier again when I write that the idea being considered again by White House officials of having President Biden declare a climate emergency so he can implement a draconian crackdown on the domestic oil and gas industry is frankly crazy. That’s the truth.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that unnamed officials inside the White House said the idea of declaring a climate emergency, first considered in 2021 and again in 2022, is once again under consideration. The only “emergency,” of course, is the president’s flagging approval ratings among impressionable young voters that threaten to derail his re-election chances. Declaring a climate emergency would arm the president with dictatorial powers to hamstring the domestic industry more than his regulators and hundreds of executive orders have already managed to do.

According to Bloomberg’s sources, actions being considered would include suspending offshore drilling, restricting exports of oil and LNG, and “throttling” the industry’s ability to transport its production via pipelines and rail. Given the industry’s crucial nature, it all sounds like a recipe for massive economic disaster.

“The average American is certainly not demanding a climate emergency declaration. It’s the losing team of left-wing Democrat activists and the shrinking base of elites who are,” U.S. Oil and Gas Association President Tim Stewart told me in an interview. “It’s not about climate, it’s about control: Control over the entire U.S. economy, control of production, manufacturing, distribution, and consumption. If you control energy, you control all these things. Which means you have control of the people.”

Stewart notes that the use of emergency powers in this instance would represent the same playbook used by federal, state, and local governments to restrict citizens’ freedoms and choices during COVID pandemic. But for the president, it would also be a means of shoring up support among the billionaire class that funds both the climate alarmist movement and so many Democrat Party campaigns, including his own campaign for re-election.

That angle was echoed by Tom Pyle, president of the D.C.-based think tank, the Institute for Energy Research. “By now, we have gotten used to incredibly damaging and stupid decisions from the Biden administration, but the idea of declaring a ‘climate emergency’ is in a class by itself,” Pyle told me. “Like the freeze on new LNG permits, the only emergency President Biden is seeking to address with this latest threat is his slippage in the polls among young voters.”

Others with whom I spoke on the matter were skeptical that the White House would really take such an extreme step in the middle of a re-election effort, but that outlook seems naïve, really. After all, who would have predicted last December that the administration would halt all permitting of new LNG export facilities purely for political reasons? Who would have predicted in late 2021 that the president would order the draining of 40% of the nation’s wartime Strategic Petroleum Reserve for no reason other than a pure political calculation designed to try to influence the 2022 midterm election?

Anyone thinking such a move would be made out of a real, good faith effort to somehow impact climate change needs to consider this: Demand for oil and natural gas is a global phenomenon that will not be reduced just because Biden cracks down on the U.S. domestic industry. Such a crackdown would inevitably create the flight of billions of dollars in capital to other parts of the world where environmental regulations are far less stringent than in the United States.

The climate alarmists advocating for this crazy policy action like to ignore the reality that the Earth has only one atmosphere which everyone shares. The U.S. oil and gas industry has dramatically cut emissions of both methane and CO2 even as it has achieved new records in production. No other nation on Earth can make a similar claim.

This is indeed a crazy idea, but it would be a mistake to assume it is not being seriously considered, and for all the wrong reasons.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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