Trump Lambasts Biden’s Fracking Flip-Flop And Pledge To ‘Transition From The Oil Industry’

Fracking ok, for now? POOL/AFP via Getty Images Toward the end of their debate last night, Donald Trump and Joe Biden went hea...


Toward the end of their debate last night, Donald Trump and Joe Biden went head to head on their diametrically opposed energy and climate policies.

A highlight was Biden’s bizarrely false insistence that “I never said I would oppose fracking” and “I do rule out banning fracking.”

Biden challenged a flabbergasted Trump to present proof to the contrary: “Show the tape, put it on your website” (which Trump did). 

Trump prompted debate moderator Kristen Welker to ask Biden a follow up: “Would he close down the oil industry?” Then turned and asked the question himself: “Would you close down the oil industry?” 

Biden took the bait. “I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” he said, adding, “Because the oil industry pollutes significantly.” 

“Oh that’s a big statement,” said Trump. Looking into the camera, while being interrupted by Welker four times, Trump said, “In terms of business, that’s the biggest statement, because basically what he’s saying is he is going to destroy the oil industry. Will you remember that Texas? Will you remember that Pennsylvania, Oklahoma … Ohio?”

There’s a lot to unpack in that exchange. Trump knows he doesn’t poll well with environmental activists so he wasn’t shy about maligning their favorite energy sources, saying that wind power “kills all the birds” (more like 250,000 per year). But he does enjoy a base of support among oil and gas workers who rely on “fracking” — the hydraulic fracturing of shale rock two miles below the surface — to produce oil and gas. 

As much as President Trump may want voters across Frackistan to believe that, “we saved our oil industry and now it’s very vibrant again and everybody has very inexpensive gasoline” — in reality the U.S. oil industry is suffering its deepest recession since the 1980s. Yes gasoline is cheap, averaging $2.15 a gallon nationwide, but it’s too cheap for most oil companies to turn a profit, triggering dozens of oil company bankruptcies this year and a 30% drop in domestic oil production during the pandemic. 

In reality, the oil industry probably doesn’t have much to worry about from a Biden presidency considering that the biggest increase in drilling and fracking in the history of the world happened during the Obama-Biden years when American oil production nearly doubled. Obama even did away with the antiquated ban on domestic oil exports. 

The greater irony is that oil companies are already pursuing Biden’s policy — proclaiming their own dedication to navigating the carbon transition. BP for instance is forecasting a 40% reduction in its own oil output over the next decade. France’s Total has invested billions in battery technology. Meanwhile, for all its oil riches, Texas also leads the nation in wind turbines. 

The plentitude of cheap, clean-burning shale gas has already had a huge positive impact on U.S. emissions, having incentivized utilities to mothball far dirtier coal-fired plants. As a result, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are down nearly in line with what would have been expected had Trump not exited the 2005 Paris Agreement. “We have the best carbon emissions numbers that we’ve had in 35 years under this administration,” said Trump, overstating it somewhat. According to EPA data, annual emissions of all greenhouse gases was down 12% from 2005-2019, but still higher than 1990. Covid helps: according to EIA research, carbon emissions are likely to drop 8% this year due to pandemic lockdowns. 

Joe Biden reiterated last night his intention to rejoin the Paris Accord, and came close to describing shale gas as a key transition bridge fuel. “What I will do with fracking over time is make sure that we can capture the emissions from the fracking, capture the emissions from gas.” Sensible ideas already being pursued by the industry. His plan further calls for a tsunami of new wind and solar, 50,000 charging stations for electric vehicles and the retrofit of 6 million buildings and homes. Biden says he envisions “net zero emissions” in energy production by 2035, and for the entire country by 2050. 

Trump countered that Biden’s environmental policy was written by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would cost $100 trillion and lead to buildings with tiny windows. “They want to take buildings down because they want to make bigger windows into smaller windows. As far as they’re concerned, if you had no windows it would be a lovely thing.” 

Biden realized after the debate that he might have gone too far. To clear things up, after the debate, Biden spun his comments to pool reporters saying, “We’re not getting rid of fossil fuels. We’re getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time.”



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Newsrust: Trump Lambasts Biden’s Fracking Flip-Flop And Pledge To ‘Transition From The Oil Industry’
Trump Lambasts Biden’s Fracking Flip-Flop And Pledge To ‘Transition From The Oil Industry’
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