Biden’s Disastrous LNG Export Goal

An environmental watchdog group assesses the climate damage implied by the White House’s plan to send billions of cubic meters of fracked gas to Europe annually until 2030. 

 U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit conducting a safety inspection in preparation for the Cameron Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Louisiana to load its first LNG cargo for global export, Feb. 12, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard)

By Julia Conley
Common Dreams

As the United Nations released its latest report showing that the continued failure of wealthy countries to immediately transition away from fossil fuels will cause catastrophic global heating, a new analysis warned the White House to scrap its plans to export billions of cubic meters of fracked gas to Europe annually until 2030.

The proposal, which the Biden administration claims “is consistent with our shared net-zero goals,” would generate fossil fuel emissions equivalent to 400 million metric tons of carbon each year, according to the analysis by Food & Water Watch, which warned the plan “would spell climate disaster.”

“One year of emissions from 50 billion cubic meters (BCM) of [liquefied natural gas] LNG would be equivalent to yearly emissions from 100 coal plants,” reads the group’s report, titled LNG: The U.S. and E.U.’s Deal for Disaster.

LNG, which is created by cooling fracked gas to create a clear, colorless liquid, has been touted by the oil industry “as the climate-friendly alternative to Russian gas, but problems arise quickly, as a standard methane leakage rate from U.S.-sourced LNG has not been measured,” Food & Water Watch adds.

[Related: UKRAINE: US Gas & Europe’s Decarbonization Hit]

The U.S. is already the world’s biggest exporter of LNG, with exports averaging 0.32 BCM per day in the first half of this year. More than 70 percent of U.S. exports went to Europe this year, and while the Biden administration’s plan has promised an extra 15 BCM of LNG to Europe this year, the current pace “will triple” that pledge, according to the report.

U.S. President Joe Biden during a major economies forum on energy and climate in the White House on June 17. (White House, Adam Schultz)

“The White House vision for delivering gas to Europe will serve to deliver climate chaos across the globe, at a moment when we simply cannot build new fossil fuel facilities at all,” said Food & Water Watch research director Amanda Starbuck. “The White House must work with political leaders across the globe to find a safer alternative than doubling down on dirty gas.”

The U.N. report released Wednesday estimated that planetary heating could reach 2.9°C by the end of the century if policymakers do not shift away from fossil fuel extraction promptly — a level of heating which could threaten hundreds of millions of people with sea level rise.

Food & Water Watch also detailed the immediate harm the Biden administration will be doing to communities near fracking sites in the U.S. if it moves ahead with the LNG exports plan.

July 2014: A community in the San Joaquin Valley of California where, just down the road, in the Lost Hills Oil Field, numerous wells had been fracked. (Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“Communities plagued by fracking experience well documented and severe environmental impacts, which fall disproportionately on frontline populations that include rural, lower-income communities and communities of color,” the group’s report reads.

“Those living near fracking sites are at increased risk of contracting cancer and a host of other medical disorders, with pregnant women and children at even greater risk.”

The analysis also notes that exporting 50 BCM of LNG per year would cost between $10 billion and $19 billion annually, while providing the EU with just 12 percent of its demand for gas as it faces an energy crisis.

Meanwhile, the same level of investment in utility-scale solar power could provide Europe with more than 540 megawatt-hours (MWh) — 11 percent more energy than would be provided by LNG.

“Onshore wind power costs are similar, providing 515 million MWh,” reads the report. “Scaling up renewables to this level would avoid over 500 million metric tons of fossil fuels, no matter if it is replaced with solar or wind. The choice is clear.”

 Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

8 comments for “Biden’s Disastrous LNG Export Goal

  1. John Patrick O'Callaghan
    October 31, 2022 at 00:11

    The US Government is the most destructive on the planet,and it’s citizens the most uninformed! An extremely dangerous situation.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    October 29, 2022 at 10:23

    So…now we know. The US blew up the Nordstream 2 pipelines for the sole purpose of profits at home. And now the US gets to ‘sell’ LNG to Europe, i e more profits at home. And the dumb, deaf and blind Europeans still don’t get it. This lack of integrity is a sorry sight. When will the world learn NOT TO TRUST the Yanx?

  3. torture this
    October 29, 2022 at 07:19

    Knowing what I learn from CN and other alternatives to corporate press outlets is a miserable existence. Shouldn’t I feel great about being so much smarter than the general public? Ugh!

  4. robert e williamson jr
    October 28, 2022 at 14:54

    In my humble opinion, any country willing to fight a war of choice, which is what the war in Ukraine boils down to for both sides, is in no way concerned about global warming.

  5. Peter Grynch
    October 28, 2022 at 14:35

    I should point out that the energy will still be required and, if not supplied by natural gas, will likely be supplied by a dirtier source of power, such as coal or wood burning. By using natural gas you are REDUCING the CO2 that would otherwise be generated by the dirtier sources.

    Coal demand is at record highs thanks to China and the EU’s fatally flawed energy policies. Thanks, guys. We need warmer Winters.

  6. Noah Scape
    October 28, 2022 at 10:46

    This kind of project doesn’t happen without planning and lead time, it has likely been an idea for months, maybe a year.
    The fracking of America needs this boost, LNG to Europe will revive American fracking.

    “And so, your honour, the timing and purpose of fracked LNG to Europe adds to the evidence that the USA blew up Nordstream. The recorded statements by the President, and other prominent Americans, claiming that Nordstream would be sabotaged, plus the eyewitnessed accounts of US naval vessels in the area at the time, must be considered”

    And hey, what about satellite images from that day Nordstream blew up? They can show amazing detail – not a word about that being used to nail the Nordstream culprit.

  7. Bill Todd
    October 28, 2022 at 10:24

    Just one more proof that U.S. promises aren’t worth sh!t, because so often we break them as soon as an excuse arises to maintain the status quo. We can only hope that our descendants survive long enough to develop time travel and send back a large enough nuke to Washingfon D.C. to eliminate the problem which for many decades we’ve failed to fix ourselves.

  8. mgr
    October 28, 2022 at 08:00

    Of course… Why is it not surprising that an American solution, to any problem, always ends up being the worst possible for everyone, except for a very few? America is not just at war with Russia. The bottom line is that it is at war with everyone and with the earth itself. 30+ years of an American led uni-polar world has led directly to this, and still they want, need more. It will always be more. That is the nature of the US neo-liberal economy; consume everything until there is not a blade of grass left.

    The saying is that NATO was intended to keep Russia out, Germany down and America in. Never a question as to whether any of these goals are good, you know, for the people who actually live there. Rather, they are solely to feed the endless American need for more. That’s what a virus does, until it finally kills its host. This is why we are now facing a nuclear showdown, because America cannot conceive of anything else.

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