Increasing Oil and Gas Production to Fight the Climate Crisis?

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has been hailed as the largest climate bill ever passed by the U.S. government. This doesn’t really mean much since neither party in the U.S. has ever taken any significant action to stop the climate crisis. When he was running for President, part of Biden’s campaign promise was to take major steps to protect the planet, which included a promise to stop all new oil and gas development on federal lands and waters. But not only does the IRA not do anything to seriously confront the climate crisis, it will actually help to make things worse by expanding oil and gas drilling in the U.S.

One of the key provisions in the IRA is to link the use of federal land for green energy projects to the leasing of new land for oil and gas projects. Before any new federal land is leased out for wind or solar energy, each year at least 2 million acres of federal land onshore must be offered for lease to oil and gas companies, and 60 million acres must be offered in federal waters offshore. So, the IRA could likely lead to the expansion of oil and gas production in the U.S. Chevron executives, for example, echoed this point when they said during a recent earnings report that they foresee future expansion of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, as long as they can get new federal waters to drill in — which is exactly what the IRA gives them.

This is not a bill to stop climate catastrophe. This is a bill to continue business as usual, which is destroying the planet. During a time when humanity needs to stop relying on fossil fuels entirely, we see Biden and the Democrats, just like the Republicans, expanding fossil fuel production, which will only make climate destruction even worse. Calling this a climate bill is a sham.