Auto: Europe’s rush to green: A cautionary tale for America

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President Biden recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Energy and Security with the European Union as a show of commitment to reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian energy. The plan is to increase liquified natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe by 15 billion cubic meters this year.

  Europe’s rush to green: A cautionary tale for America © Provided by The Hill

This sounds great in theory. But it’s hard not to wonder, how will the United States help Europe lessen their reliance on Russia for energy, when our president is pushing the same Green New Deal policies that got Europe there in the first place?

In the European Union’s rush to go green, they prematurely abandoned fossil fuel production for less reliable forms of clean energy, such as wind and solar. Weather-dependent renewables were subsidized as these countries went all-in on eliminating fossil fuels from their energy portfolio.

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Europe shut down coal and nuclear plants as part of their plan to reach carbon neutrality as quickly as possible. For example, Germany shut down three of its last six nuclear reactors — even though nuclear energy is the only carbon neutral base-load power source — and plans to close the final three by the end of 2022. France, Germany, and Bulgaria banned fracking , and France and Spain blocked LNG terminals which would allow them to import U.S. natural gas.

One pandemic and a windless summer later, Europe’s supply of always-on energy decreased while the demand for energy stayed the same. Wholesale gas prices rose by more than 400 percent since the start of 2021, over 20 energy suppliers in Britain went bankrupt , inventory stockpiles ran short, and many countries had to pay a 90 percent surge in carbon emission fines to revamp fossil fuel production. It was an energy crisis.

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This “rush to green” made Europe reliant on corrupt foreign oil cartels to keep the lights on and fill the gap in their energy needs. Russia supplied 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas and 25 percent of their crude oil supply. This is more than double the amount of natural gas imports Europe was receiving from Norway. For Germany, they relied on Russia for 50 percent of their natural gas. Gazprom is still sending Russian oil to Europe currently.

This crisis should serve as a cautionary tale to President Biden and the Democratic Party that eliminating reliable energy here at home puts our country at the mercy of our adversaries and cripples our ability to help our allies.

President Biden began his assault on American energy when he cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline and rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office. He went on to diminish the federal leasing program into operating at a bare minimum. He slowed down the processing of applications for permits to drill on public lands and in U.S. waters and pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050 .

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The Biden Environmental Protection Agency is pushing methane regulation on oil and gas and the Security and Exchange Commission is ruling that publicly traded companies must disclose their financial risk from climate change to support this effort.

Now, the Biden administration is propping up renewable energy to make it look more attractive than fossil fuels. He approved the nation’s first major offshore wind farm and is pushing for more development plans along the coastline. In the proposed “Build Back Better” legislation, the Democrats offered $300 billion in tax incentives to weatherize homes and create electric vehicle charging stations.

Sound familiar? President Biden cannot push the same policies as Europe and expect a different outcome. That’s the definition of insanity.

What has happened in Europe proved to the entire world that renewables cannot be the only source of energy. The war in Ukraine showed us they are also not safe.

Germany has recently begun accelerating the development of two new LNG terminals to reduce dependence on Russia gas imports and is considering revamping their abandoned coal mines. Unfortunately, they can’t reverse course fast enough. Years’ worth of infrastructure, development, and innovation have already been thrown away.

To best support our allies, America must be energy independent. We can only achieve that with an “all-of-the-above” energy portfolio, which includes both renewables and fossil fuels. In the time President Biden has spent crippling the industry and pointing fingers, our producers could have been providing the world with the energy they need. American energy independence is critical for global stabilization and through their rush to green, Democrats are putting that in jeopardy.

Markwayne Mullin represents Oklahoma’s 2nd District and is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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