What’s going on here?

Last Friday the US paused approvals of new exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) following pressure from climate activists. The Department of Energy will now analyse the potential climate impact of any upcoming  projects. This move could defer approval processes until after the presidential election in November.

What does this mean?

The US is currently the world’s top exporter of LNG, after a recent boom in exports. It has started shipping more gas to Europe and Asia since Russia invaded Ukraine, as countries have looked for alternatives to Russian gas.

Many are concerned about this increase, with environmentalists warning that LNG exports amount to carbon “mega bombs”. Climate activists and residents of Louisiana – which has many export terminals – launched a massive campaign against new export terminals, using TikTok to get their message out.

Their victory now means the US government will stop and review its process for approving new permits to export LNG. Biden says the pause will allow his administration to “take a hard look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and our environment”. He added that the decision “sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time”.

During this period, we will take a hard look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and our environment. This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time.

President Biden

Why should we care?

This is a huge victory for climate activism. It’s a milestone decision by the Biden administration to prioritise the climate crisis in its energy policy decision making.

LNG is terrible for the environment – maybe even worse than coal. It has to be cooled and compressed before it can be shipped, which uses a huge amount of energy. The production and transport of LNG causes up to ten times the carbon emissions compared to pipeline gas.

Gas is also dirty fuel when burned, despite often being positioned as a way to transition away from other fossil fuels. LNG is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas which is 80 times more potent than CO2 in the short term and 30 times worse in the long term.

The policy reversal offers optimism for those opposing future fossil fuel projects, setting a precedent for politicians to consider climate impacts in energy decisions.

Be curious!

🚢 Delve deeper into the analysis of this groundbreaking decision and its implications for Louisiana.

⛽️ Find out more about what LNG is and why it’s become so important.

💚 Join the fight against LNG with the Say No to LNG campaign.

Featured image by Aerial-motion from Shutterstock

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