Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 27, 2023

Contact:

Shaye Wolf, (415) 385-5746, swolf@biologicaldiversity.org

Analysis: Biden-Approved Fossil Fuel Projects Undermine IRA Emissions Cuts

WASHINGTON— Fossil fuel projects approved by the Biden administration threaten to erase the climate emissions progress from the Inflation Reduction Act and other climate policies, according to a new analysis released today by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Out-Polluting Progress finds that the potential carbon emissions from 17 massive fossil fuel projects approved by the Biden administration are larger than the projected emissions reductions from the IRA and other climate policies (see figure below).

The report comes ahead of Thursday’s kickoff of the COP28 U.N. climate summit in Dubai, which President Biden is not expected to attend.

“The report shows in stark detail how the Biden administration is canceling out its own climate progress by greenlighting major oil and gas projects,” said Shaye Wolf, Ph.D., climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity and the report’s lead author. “This report also shows how President Biden can truly build on the IRA’s progress. He can save lives and wildlife by halting the approval of new fossil fuel projects and phasing out drilling on our public lands and waters.”

Under the Biden administration, the United States is the world’s largest oil and gas producer. Last year it became the world’s biggest exporter of liquified gas, with exports set to nearly double by 2035. The United States is also leading the world’s largest planned expansion of oil and gas through 2050, at the exact moment we need to be moving in the opposite direction.

This month the federal government’s Fifth National Climate Assessment found that every region of the country is suffering increasingly harmful effects from fossil-fueled climate change, including extreme heat, floods and drought.

Recent reports from the United Nations, the International Energy Agency and others make clear that halting new fossil fuel expansion is key to keeping temperature rise below the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius target and preventing more intense and irreversible catastrophic climate harms.

“Approving more fossil fuels not only torches our climate future, but it also harms people’s health, degrades ecosystems and threatens wildlife,” said Wolf. “Many of these projects concentrate more polluting fossil fuel infrastructure in overburdened communities of color and low-income communities, worsening environmental injustice.”

Boosting renewables isn’t enough, the analysis shows. The U.S. must stop oil and gas expansion and phase out existing production to meet its climate targets and protect people and the planet.

The analysis lists essential actions the Biden administration can take to implement a bold fossil fuel phase-out plan, including:

  • Stop approvals of new fossil fuel projects like the massive CP2 liquified natural gas export terminal slated for the Gulf Coast
  • Revoke permits for the Willow oil drilling project, Mountain Valley Pipeline and other projects
  • Revise the offshore oil leasing Five Year Plan to include no new leases
  • Phase out oil and gas production on public lands and waters by instituting a managed phase down policy
  • Declare a national climate emergency
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A comparison of projected emissions increases from fossil fuel projects versus emissions decreases under the Biden administration, from Out-Polluting Progress by Center for Biological Diversity. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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