Oil companies have the same response to every crisis: drill more, sell more, anywhere they can. This time, though, nobody is fooled.
Russia is a petro state. Oil and gas pays for 36 percent of the federal budget in Moscow. That includes financing military aggression—in this case, the brutal invasion of an independent neighbor that posed no military threat. Meanwhile, Russia has weaponized its energy exports, holding much of Europe hostage to a price and supply crisis of Moscow’s making.
The way to beat autocrats who sell oil and gas to pay for war is to stop buying it altogether and shift away from the fossil fuels that lock in dependence on belligerent petro states. The worst thing we can do now is to lock future generations into decades more reliance on these dangerous fuels—and those who would use them as weapons.
Clean energy doesn’t mean the end of geopolitics. Energy is a strategic commodity. That’s not going to change. What we can change is the source of that energy, as 7 in 10 Americans favor.
When we, as a nation, get more clean, renewable power from the wind and sun here at home; make our cars, homes, and workplaces more efficient; and build modern, resilient power transmission and storage grids, we create actual energy independence. We reduce our reliance on nations that use energy as a weapon. We make our economy stronger and our country more secure.
Ending our dependence on oil will distance U.S. families and businesses from the volatility of global markets. It will take us out of the business of subsidizing aggression from petro states like Russia. And it will help us confront the global climate crisis—the existential environmental challenge of our time.
The United Nations released its latest report on the rising costs and mounting dangers that climate change is inflicting on the world’s people, natural systems, and critical infrastructure. It is a high-def map of global misery, with rates of disease and death rising; crops and livestock hammered; social progress constrained; economic growth crimped; and forests, coral reefs, and other essential ecosystems and species stressed, often to the brink of extinction.
It will all get worse, the science tells us, unless we cut the dangerous pollution from burning coal, gas, and oil in half by 2030 and stop adding it to the atmosphere altogether by 2050.
The United States must do its part. Biden has pledged to cut carbon pollution and other climate-wrecking greenhouse gases 50–52 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030.
To get there, we need the clean energy investments now before the Senate. We need new and ambitious carbon pollution standards at the federal, state, and local levels. And we need for every agency of the government to become part of the climate fix, not the problem.
It won’t happen overnight. But we must be deliberate and decisive in making it happen as soon as is humanely possible. That’s the way to create real energy independence, strengthen our economy, and make our country more secure.