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John Kerry Says US ‘Absolutely’ Doesn’t Need Oil, Gas Drilling

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U.S. climate envoy John Kerry argued the U.S. doesn’t need more oil and gas drilling, saying combating climate change is more important during an event Friday.

Kerry characterized arguments that domestic oil production is necessary to boost U.S. energy security as a “false narrative,” during the discussion at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. Fossil fuel industry groups and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly argued that more domestic energy production would allow the U.S. to become less reliant on imports from foreign powers like Russia.

“Energy security worry is driving a lot of the thoughts now about, ‘oh, we need more drilling of gas,’ ‘we need more drilling of this,’ ‘we need to go back to coal.’ No, we don’t. We absolutely don’t,” Kerry remarked Friday. “We have to prevent a false narrative from entering into this or, again, pun intended, we are cooked.”

“We will get to a low carbon, no carbon economy at some point in time, because that’s where the markets going,” he continued. “No question in my mind.”

The average price of gasoline nationwide hit a record $5.02 per gallon Tuesday while the average price of diesel fuel hit an all-time high of $5.78 a gallon Wednesday, according to AAA data. The record fuel prices have largely been influenced by high international and domestic oil prices.

Since President Joe Biden took office, his administration has unleashed an assault on fossil fuel development, nixing the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ditching a major oil drilling project in Alaska, attempting to ban new drilling leases on federal lands and making it harder for utilities to gain approval for natural gas projects. The Biden administration has also canceled all remaining offshore oil and gas lease sales while placing tight restrictions on future onshore lease sales.

The U.S. drilled about 11.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in March, down from its peak of 13 million bpd in late 2019, federal data showed.

Kerry added that Americans need to begin electing politicians who will prioritize climate change policy. He said half of Congress is unwilling to act on these issues.

“That’s how you restore the strength of democracy as well as achieve the things we need to achieve,” he told the moderator.

Kerry, who Biden appointed as the State Department’s first-ever special presidential envoy for climate in January 2021, has led the White House’s climate efforts on the world stage. He has traveled across the world to engage in climate diplomacy with other government leaders.

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