On his first day in office, US president Joe Biden famously used a stroke of his pen to cancel Trans-Canada’s (now TC Energy) $8 billion investment in the northern leg of its Keystone Pipeline system. Biden took this action despite his administration’s failure to find Trans-Canada in violation of any U.S. law or regulation that would warrant such an extreme measure. The President justified his action based on specious claims that canceling the pipeline would somehow reduce U.S. carbon emissions.
That claim is complete nonsense given that oil from Alberta’s oil sands projects has continued flowing into the United States on trucks and trains. Incremental production volumes that can’t flow into the U.S. by those means or on other, pre-existing pipelines are being transported west to Vancouver, BC on Canada’s Trans-Mountain pipeline. Both rail and trucking are far more risky, more expensive, and much more polluting than transporting oil in a modern, state-of-the-art pipeline. Thus, the Biden abuse of power will go down in history as one of the most futile and costly energy-related gestures ever taken by the U.S. government.
The same claim can be made related to every aspect of the Biden Green New Deal agenda given that its efforts to cut carbon emissions are vastly overwhelmed each day by the ever-expanding use of coal by a single nation, China. Where Biden has been canceling critical infrastructure designed to provide the U.S. public with reliable and affordable fossil fuel energy, China has continued to expand its own use of oil, natural gas, and coal.
The communist empire has grown into the world’s biggest importer of oil, currently importing over 11 million barrels per day, and sports the 2nd-largest suite of oil refineries, trailing only the United States, which is shrinking its own refining sector thanks to onerous government regulations. China is also expanding its use of natural gas and investments in a vast expansion of its domestic LNG import infrastructure.
But the most prominent feature of China’s growing use of fossil fuels comes in its efforts to take advantage of its enormous coal resource. China currently operates well more than 1,000 coal-fired power plants, with over 200 more currently permitted and under construction. China produces about 27% of the world’s total man-caused carbon dioxide emissions annually. Those emissions will expand as its use of coal continues to expand. According to EIA, China consumed more than 4 trillion Mmcf of coal in 2022, or about 50.5% of the world’s total consumption. By comparison, the U.S. consumed just 8.5% of global coal, ranking it third behind India’s 11.3%.
Like China, India is also focused on expanding, not reducing, its own use of coal in the coming years. During the 6-month period from April through September this year, India’s largest power company, NTPC, reported an 83% increase in its use of coal. About 70% of India’s electricity is generated by coal, and that share is rising, not falling.
Meanwhile, as China and India power their rapidly expanding economies with increasing levels of coal-generated electricity, the Biden administration has been keeping itself busy handing out billions of debt-funded dollars to an array of so-called green projects whose advertised carbon reductions are dwarfed by the simultaneous increases generated by the world’s two most populated nations. It is key to note that the futile Biden policies are also being pursued in Canada, Europe and across most of the rest of what we used to refer to as the western democracies.
What it all boils down to is that the carbon reduction efforts in the west amount to the most costly, self-promoted collection of futile gestures in the history of mankind.
With a new war now underway in the Middle East, and the U.S. firmly committed to supporting Israel’s response to the Hamas terrorist attacks, it all gives rise to new questions about the wisdom of Biden’s Green New Deal policy choices, as well as his hyper-political decision to deplete the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to dangerously low levels. This lack of attention to true energy security in such a volatile world could come back to haunt Biden — and our country — in the lead-up to the 2024 elections.
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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