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Seattle Times columnist: ‘High gas prices? They’re just what we need’ – ‘This is essential to preventing global catastrophe’

April 8, 2022

The biggest paradox of the moment is Americans complaining about high gasoline prices while climate change is growing worse.

The average of more than $4 a gallon nationally, and even higher in parts of Seattle, may be enough to cost the Democrats control of Congress this year and even the White House in 2024.

Yet carbon — of which Happy Motoring is among the worst offenders — needs to be priced high enough to keep it in the ground instead of burning it into the atmosphere. This is essential to preventing global catastrophe.

Nobody is going to lose an election because of failure to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is preparing to release a landmark report warning that without immediate action, the planet could see a rise in temperatures of nearly 5.76 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That’s more than twice the goal nations committed to holding with the Paris accords.

Yet as I write, chief executives of major oil companies are testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about high gas prices, not their companies’ role in carbon emissions. Democrats accuse Big Oil of “war profiteering” at the expense of American consumers. They also say the companies have increased dividends and stock buybacks to reward shareholders, instead of lowering prices at the pump.

Republicans blame President Joe Biden for canceling a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a temporary pause to new drilling leases and the Green New Deal (little of which has been enacted, especially thanks to blocking by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Coal). In fact, oil companies aren’t drilling on half of the 13.5 million acres of public land they already have leased.

The biggest culprit in rising gas prices is the economy’s rapid rebound from the pandemic and the resulting strain on supply. Second is sanctions cutting off oil from Russia because of its brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Even though the United States gets a tiny portion of its imported oil from Russia, crude is traded on world markets and big producers such as Saudi Arabia have declined to make up the difference and lower prices.

Costs are coming down for solar and wind energy, although these require large fossil-fuel input to make. And progress on this front will be fighting against continued rising emissions, with transportation being the largest contributor.

Meanwhile, most Americans will keep driving, complaining about gasoline prices and acting as bystanders to the growing costs of climate change.


Related Links: 

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Biden praises high gas prices as part of ‘incredible transition’ away from fossil fuels

Watch: Biden Commerce Sec. declares ‘existential threat’ of climate more important than clothing kids -‘Forget about clothes on their back, they’re not gonna be able to have a life if we don’t deal with climate change’

Former Obama U.S. Treasury official Mark Mazur says quiet part out loud: ‘We don’t want lower prices for fossil-fuel buyers, we prefer higher prices’ to achieve ‘climate change goals’– Former Obama U.S. Treasury official Mark Mazur rejects the call for a gas-tax holiday because it “undercuts the administration’s climate change goals — where really to care about fossil-fuel consumption, we don’t want lower prices for fossil-fuel buyers, we prefer higher prices.”

‘We gotta leave you in the ground’: Biden Energy Sec Granholm appeared in 2018 video singing about end of gasoline, fossil fuels – ‘Gasoline, gasoline, the world’s aflame’