Now that our new president has been elected (Proud Boys, its over!), let’s take a look at what people smarter than I are predicting it will mean for the domestic oil and gas industry and the climate. In summary: bad for one, no meaningful help for the other, and the fury of the fiscal kraken will be unleashed. (As usual these are summaries; see the articles for a fuller picture).
World Oil believes that Biden wants to end the oil and gas industry in America, citing the Biden-Sanders manifesto of July 2020 that called for:
- 500 million solar panels, including 8 million solar roofs and community solar energy systems
- 60,000 wind turbines,
- converting 500,000 school buses to zero omission alternatives within five years
- elimination of carbon from power generation by 2035, and
- additional regulations for the industry to achieve what is vaguely defined as “environmental justice”.
Communists and socialists, you’re in luck. Decision-making for energy will move from the market to Washington, where factors other than efficiency will play an increasing role.
Roger Pielke in Forbes bemoans the futility of it all. He says in order to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 the US would have to deploy at least one new nuclear power plant worth of carbon free energy every six days, beginning last month. At the same time the world continues to move in the opposite direction. The goal is impossible because of the failure to accurately understand the scale of the challenge and the absence of policy proposals that match that scale. He supports his conclsions with calculations.
Joseph Markman at Hart Energy says Biden’s victory is not a death knell for the industry but it does mean:
- regulatory agencies will slow the permitting process for energy projects to allow for closer examination of environmental impact,
- a fracking ban on federal lands will have a limited impact in most producing areas,
- there will be enhanced enforcement mechanisms and modification of royalties to account for climate costs,
- there are likely to be programs such as carbon capture utilization and storage technology,
- the most likely outcome is that his policies will speed up the already-in-process transition to a low carbon energy future and to accelerate movement on climate change from a policy perspective.
Daniel Markind in Forbes questions the wisdom of re-joining the poorly-understood Paris Climate Accords.
NPR says “the industry” (whoever that is) doesn’t fear Biden, and is cautiously optimistic. A Republican Senate would help.
The Manhattan Contrarian (Francis Menton) predicts damage to Ameria when we rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. Whatever Biden does will have no measurable effect on the Earth’s climate. Even assuming that human CO2 emissions are having a catastrophic effect on the climate and that the US can somehow achieve drastic reductions in its share of those emissions, increases from developing countries will continue to swamp the modest decreases the US might hope to achieve. China and India agreed neither to reduce their emissions nor stop ongoing increases. Such an exercise could be enormously destructive to American wealth, prosperity and national security, and we will send tens of billions of dollars annually to a “climate fund” for Third World kleptocracies.
Tilak Doshi at Watts Up With That predicts that the Biden Plan (according to his campaign) will require a series of executive orders with unprecedented reach that will go well beyond the Obama administration’s platform, including spending $1.7 trillion over four years.