As war rages, a struggle to balance the energy crisis and the climate crisis

“We are on a war footing, an emergency, and we need to responsibly increase short-term supply where we can at this time to stabilize the market and minimize harm to American families,” he said Wednesday. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to oil and gas executives. at an industry conference in Houston. “That means you’re producing more right now, where and if you can.”

Ms. Granholm said increasing oil and gas production in the near term would not mean abandoning the administration’s goal of moving away from fossil fuels in order to combat global warming. Mr Biden has pledged to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

“Yes, right now we need oil and gas production to increase to meet current demand,” Ms. Granholm said. But, she added, “we are serious about decarbonization while providing reliable energy that is not dependent on foreign adversaries.”

Yet it remains unclear what the United States will actually do to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels in the years to come. In its most recent annual outlook, the US Energy Information Administration said oil and gas are expected to remain the country’s primary energy sources through 2050 without major policy changes. This is the same year that scientists say nations must largely phase out fossil fuel emissions if they are to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming.

The administration’s main legislative proposal to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy, the Build Back Better Act, remains in limbo. This bill includes $555 billion in spending to deploy low-carbon technologies like wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear power. Electric vehicle buyers would receive up to $12,500 in tax credits. The bill also provides billions of dollars to make buildings more energy efficient and replace gas furnaces with electric versions.

In theory, these measures could go a long way toward reducing America’s dependence on oil and gas, although they would take time to work. A recent analysis by the Energy Innovation think tank estimated that the provisions of the electric vehicle bill could reduce US oil consumption by 180 million barrels per year by 2030, more than double that. that the country imported from Russia last year. Other provisions to clean up power plants, buildings and industry could reduce U.S. natural gas consumption by 4.7 trillion cubic feet per year by 2030, the equivalent of 85% of what Europe imported from Russia last year.

But the legislation stalled in the equally divided Senate. No Republicans support it, and Sen. Joe Manchin III, a key Democratic vote, has said he opposes the current version.