One of the quickest and easiest things the United States can do to provide additional supplies to Europe is to reduce domestic demand for fossil fuels, freeing up more existing gas to go to abroad while reducing domestic emissions. BP and Exxon Mobil-sponsored study from Princeton University finds electrification efforts in line with President Biden’s net zero goal could release 20-30 bcm of gas annually.

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The climate and the world are changing. What challenges will the future bring and how should we respond to them?

Whatever new subsidies the administration provides despite these opportunities should be contingent on oil and gas companies aligning with the goals of the Paris climate accord. One way to do this would be to require all companies that want to take advantage of the new Export-Import Bank loan guarantees to identify and fix methane leaks in their supply chains.

Methane is a much more potent contributor to global warming than short-term carbon dioxide, and atmospheric methane levels have risen more in the past year than at any other time since records began, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Methane leaks are particularly severe in the Permian Basin region of Texas and New Mexico, where oil and gas production could skyrocket.

To be able to resell barrels to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at stable prices, oil and gas producers could also be required to create concrete plans audited by the federal government to align their production plans with the objectives of the agreement. from Paris. Cheap leases to drill on public land – recently extended by the Home Office’s Bureau of Land Management – ​​should force companies to completely remove and clean up polluting assets that don’t fit those plans, rather than sell them to private equity vultures, as many are doing now.

Broad federal permitting authority gives the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the ability to issue shorter permits for fossil fuel infrastructure, let permits expire, and even to revoke them from companies that run counter to national priorities. If that means they’re not being funded, so be it. And if, while their assets are tied up, companies rush for a bailout like they did in 2020, those funds should come with matching stakes.

Without such conditions, rulers will simply drill far beyond planetary boundaries. Look no further than Charif Souki, executive chairman of gas company Tellurian, who suggested at a March conference in Houston that US companies can look forward to exploiting 100 years of gas reserves.

For entirely self-serving reasons, investors have put energy companies on a leash. The US government should now do the same and prevent short-term political and national security priorities from undermining hopes for a stable climate. This leash should ensure that any new production has a firm end date and uses all available tools to minimize emissions.