By Anders Lorenzen
US President Joe Biden could be at odds with his campaign pledges and what he promised during the COP26 last year.
At a campaign event, before he was elected president in February 2020, Biden said: “And by the way — no more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period.”
But earlier this month, the Biden Administration said it has resumed plans for oil and gas development on federal land – a clear break of the pledge he made while campaigning for president. However, the US government’s plan is to lease fewer acres for drilling than initially proposed, charge steeper royalties to oil and gas companies and, assess the climate impacts of those activities.
Reckless failure of climate leadership
Not surprisingly, the U-turn by Biden has not been warmly received by green groups and activists. But it was praised by oil industry groups, who also still called on the US government to go further. And many climate advocates, including the Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres, are concerned that we are now disregarding the climate crisis in the wake of the horrific events in Ukraine.
The announcement made by the Biden Administration would make around 144,000 acres available for oil and gas drilling through a series of lease sales.
Randi Spivak, Public lands Director for The Cent for Biological Diversity said: “The Biden administration’s claim that it must hold these lease sales is pure fiction and a reckless failure of climate leadership. It’s as if they’re ignoring the horror of firestorms, floods and megadroughts, and accepting climate catastrophes as business as usual.”
The global surge of rising energy prices and the war in Ukraine prompted Biden to make the U-turn. And the US is not the first country to drastically change its climate and energy policies as a result of these events. They will continue to test the resolve of all the world’s governments` climate and energy policies with regard to how serious they are about climate action in the wake of these crises.