During Thursday’s presidential debate, Democratic nominee Joe Biden pledged to “transition away from the oil industry,” which comes as no surprise given he has campaigned on policies including restricting greenhouse-gas emissions and banning new oil and gas permits on federal land.
The Wall Street Journal highlighted some of the potential ramifications in regard to American energy should Biden be elected president. Harold Hamm, founder and executive chairman of Continental Resources, said that prices at the pump could increase if Biden further restricts U.S. oil and gas production.
Kelcy Warren, founder and longtime CEO of Energy Transfer, in a statement emphasized that oil and gas will continue to be important components of the global energy mix long-term:
“I believe that the upcoming election is the most important in maybe more than a generation. The stark differences between the policies of the candidates and the impact those policies will have on us personally and as a nation is critical for people to understand. They will set the course for our economic future and the strength of our country. My belief is that the best path forward at this time is to continue the economic and energy policies developed under the leadership of President Trump, which have created job growth here at home, secured our position as a dominant energy producing nation, and produced a more balanced economic platform for our country globally. I do believe, however, that we need to work collectively to address global energy demands. Oil and gas will continue to play an important role in the long-term energy mix, even as other forms of energy increase.”
Warren is right, as the Journal notes: “The International Energy Agency estimates that even with sustained government support for low-carbon investments, oil and natural gas would make up almost half of the world’s energy mix in 2040.”
Here in the United States, petroleum products account for more than 90 percent of total transportation sector energy use. Electricity provided less than 1 percent of total transportation sector energy use, and nearly all of that was in mass transit systems. Natural gas continues to serve as the largest source of U.S. electricity generation – meeting nearly 40 percent of American energy needs. Wind and solar, on the other hand, made up less than 10 percent of U.S. energy generation.
Before “transitioning away” from the energy sources that meet the vast majority of American consumer energy needs, it is important that there is a reliable, affordable, and available replacement – and at this time and for the foreseeable future, there is not.