The U.S. Department of the Interior announced that starting the third week in April, it will sell off leases for oil and gas drilling on 145,000 acres of public lands in nine states. This just a few weeks after the release of the third part of the 6th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which further outlined the grave situation humanity faces with climate change, and the urgent need for huge reductions, NOT increases in oil and gas production and burning.1 And just a week after 1,000 scientists in 25 countries took part in civil disobedience actions because of the failure of governments to respond to the crisis.
Last week we quoted climate scientist Peter Kalmus who participated in these actions and who stated: “We've been trying to warn you guys for so many decades that we're heading towards a fucking catastrophe, and we've been being ignored. The scientists of the world are being ignored, and it's got to stop. We're not joking. We're not lying. We're not exaggerating."
In the face of what is actually at stake, the political motivations of the Biden administration for these moves are revealing in its gross imperialist chauvinism. The New York Times says Biden wants to “show voters that he is working to increase the domestic oil supply as prices surge.” Oh, no! We wouldn’t want AMERICANS to have to pay more at the gas pump would we?–much, much better to wreck the climate of the entire planet,2 with its existential implications for vast sections of humanity.
Add to this the insane degree of hypocrisy and lies revealed.
Biden and the forces in the U.S. ruling class allied with him have been posing as friends of the environment! In his campaign Biden said, “And by the way, no more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period.” The liberal New York Times pontificated, “… Mr. Biden came into office with the most ambitious climate change agenda of any president in history…”3 Yet even before this latest move, the Biden administration has a higher per month average of drilling permits than Trump did in the first three years of his presidency!4
And, further, this past week, Biden called on Congress to compel oil companies that had purchased leases from the government to actually drill for oil on those public lands!
Apparently, in order to keep a little bit of that phony “environmentalist” cover, the Biden administration has said that the new leases it will be selling will have a higher royalty rate—the oil companies will have to pay more to the government when they sell oil from public lands. But it turns out that the royalty rate the companies pay to the government has not increased for the last one hundred years! What actually stands out is not that Biden really in his heart wants to be an environmentalist, but that the U.S. government has funded—and subsidized—oil and gas production for at least a century, in service of U.S. empire and imperialist interests. And behind that, THIS SYSTEM is completely dependent upon and has financially and in every other way supported the production, distribution, sales and use of oil as the foundation of its economic life, and as a weapon of imperialist power politics.
Glasgow Climate Conference Reckoning
The Governments, the People, the Planet...
In This Dire Situation, Revolution Is Needed...and Possible
—An Emergency Correspondence from Raymond Lotta
New Major UN Report on Climate Change Impact—Part I
3.3 Billion Humans Highly Vulnerable to Climate Change: NOW!