The Obama administration is heralding the nearly 20-year low in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions as President Obama prepares to talk climate change in China, but so far the fracking revolution isn’t getting any credit.
White House senior advisor Brian Deese cheered the falling carbon dioxide levels at a Monday press conference without mentioning the outsize role played by natural gas, as the cleaner-burning fuel increasingly overtakes coal in electricity generation.
“For those of you who are not breathlessly following the most recent data that has come out, I would note recent data that we’ve seen suggests or finds that for the first half of 2016, energy sector emissions in the United States are actually down 6 percent from last year, and 15 percent from 2005,” said Mr. Deese. “And they’re at their lowest level in nearly 20 years.”
He said nothing about the U.S. natural gas boom, an omission that critics say has become par for the course as the Obama administration highlights renewable energy and emissions restrictions without acknowledging the role of fracking in natural gas extraction.
“To add dishonesty to injury, his administration is bragging about the reduced CO2 emissions of [the] U.S. industry without crediting the fracking for natural gas, a fossil fuel, that largely caused it,” said Alex Epstein, author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”
Indeed, the U.S. leads the world in greenhouse gas reductions, a trend that began well before Mr. Obama took office. He has attempted to lower emissions further with a bevy of regulations such as the Clean Power Plan, but that was put on hold in February by the Supreme Court.
The decrease also comes before any movement on the Paris climate accord, which Mr. Obama is expected to ratify by executive agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to the G-20 Summit, according to the South China Morning Post.
Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, called on Mr. Obama Tuesday to recognize the role of natural gas and fracking as he embarks on a trip to Asia that includes a heavy climate change component.