In response to the Ukraine crisis, both Democratic and Republican politicians have argued for more fossil fuel production in the United States. They are also arguing that new transport infrastructure should be built so that fossil fuels such as liquified natural gas (LNG) from the United States can be exported to the European Union (EU).
The politicians say that these steps are needed to make both the United States and European Union less reliant on Russian fossil fuel exports. On March 25, 2022, President Biden announced a new partnership with the European Union stating that the U.S. would work to supply the EU with 15 billion cubic meters of LNG in 2022 (equivalent to 10-12% of the LNG the U.S. already exports each year), and that the EU would “ensure demand” for up to 50 billion cubic meters of LNG from the U.S. each year until 2030.
The problem with this announcement is that the U.S. and Europe do not have the necessary infrastructure to do this. Exporting that quantity of LNG to Europe will require the construction of new export terminals that can convert natural gas to a liquified form, where it can then be stored on tankers and shipped to Europe. In Europe, the opposite is needed. New import terminals will need to be built that convert the LNG to a gaseous form where it is then distributed into domestic energy infrastructure via pipelines.
Bloomberg, one of the trusted voices of the capitalist class, noted that building these terminals would be “multibillion-dollar investments” that “take years to pay off,” and that “LNG exporters will want to keep using them long after the current crisis has abated” to make their investment worth it.
This plan is completely insane! The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced in May 2021 that there could be “no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects” if humanity wanted to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avert the most damaging effects of climate change. Instead, this plan would do the exact opposite–expand fossil fuel production and distribution when we know that these actions are destroying our planet. As politicians step on the gas by proposing new infrastructure that locks us into climate destruction, we need to organize to save ourselves and our planet.