How Biden may save U.S. gas exports to Europe

5 min


By

Ben Lefebvre

How Biden may save U.S. gas exports to Europe

Such an outcome would contradict one of President Donald Trump’s closing campaign themes: that electing the former vice president would spell doom for U.S. fossil fuel producers. But it could rankle progressive climate activists who are pushing for Biden to end fracking and stop all U.S. fossil fuel exports.

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The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era methane regulations for new oil and gas wells in August, and last month, a federal judge in Wyoming struck down a 2016 rule designed to rein in methane emissions from oil and gas production on public lands. While natural gas emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal when burned, methane also leaks from wells and the equipment used to transport it, offsetting the fuel’s climate advantages over coal.

European Union countries took delivery of 36 percent of overall U.S. liquefied natural gas cargoes in 2019, but buyers there are taking a closer look at how the industry addresses those leaks. France and Ireland have both taken recent steps to limit imports of U.S. natural gas.

European governments are souring on the business-as-usual approach of many gas producers in West Texas and New Mexico, said Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a former climate adviser in the Obama White House.

“There’s growing pressure in the European Union that if they’re going to go with gas, they have to hold it to a higher standard and not go with the lowest common denominator,” Bordoff said.

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