"Two Things Changed Everything: Human Liberty and Energy from Hydrocarbons," Remarks by Chris Wright
Thank you for this flattering and humbling recognition.
What else I am thankful for is THIS, and what I mean by “this” is actually quite a lot.
History shows that for nearly everyone, every year, every season, every day was an uncertain struggle to survive. Humans were far smaller just a few generations ago, not because their genetics were any different, but because they simply lived in a constant state of malnutrition kicking starvation down the road one day at a time.
The White House Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) is working on a scorecard intended to assess federal agencies’ efforts to advance “environmental justice.” The initiative is designed to address the president’s Executive Order Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad which orders agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of their missions. The scorecard is intended to assess how well agency programs and policies address the “disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related, and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities.”
As with many things, the notion of environmental justice comes from good intentions. Often low-income communities are indeed located near industrial areas and closer to pollution sources than those who can afford better-situated real estate. Environmental justice originally focused on ensuring disadvantaged communities aren’t unduly impacted and giving them voice in environmental matters. Of course regulation should focus on reducing pollutants to protect the health of nearby residents and previously marginalized people should have a voice in issues impacting their communities. However, the concept has ballooned since the original conception while at the same time become focused on a fairly narrow range of policy prescriptions, including those aimed at eliminating oil and natural gas.
Russia’s attempts to influence American politics in recent years is no secret, particularly when it comes to energy production. Which is why you’d expect policymakers to ensure proposed regulations stay clear of any association with the oppressive regime, especially in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) apparently is failing with its proposed climate disclosure rule. The following continues our series reviewing the questionable sources cited within the commission’s rule.
Our recent analysis conducted in the course of drafting our comment letter shows that significant crossover exists among the organizations funding the seven major climate initiatives cited in the proposed rule. The global network of non-profits that are pushing climate change policies through financial regulation are backed by numerous well-known activist philanthropies and climate groups that have pushed Keep-It-in-the-Ground policies for several years, such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), New Venture Fund (NVF), Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
A few years ago, France held up a U.S. LNG import project over alleged concerns about methane emissions, as if the alternative of Russian gas was cleaner. France was trying to make a point about Trump methane rules, despite the fact that every molecule of natural gas at the wellpad controlled by the Obama methane rule was captured by the Trump rule. But of course that was not the narrative in the media. We also now know more about how Russia funds antifracking activism in Europe as a means of crowding out U.S. competition and asserting its energy hegemony over the continent. That decision’s aged particularly poorly since the invasion of Ukraine.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says its proposed disclosure rule is necessary to meet a growing demand by investors for information on publicly traded companies’ climate change risk. Yet only a small fraction of American asset managers are interested in such regulations whereas the majority of the pressure is from Europe. Today, we get granular to further show the weakness of SEC’s case.
The following continues our series based on our white paper that provides more detail.
SEC justifies the proposed rule as necessary to meet “significant investor demand for information about how climate conditions may impact their investments. That demand has been increasing in recent years.” SEC cites to a well-known letter to investors in 2020 from BlackRock Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink as proof of investor demand. Fink wrote that, “BlackRock announced a number of initiatives to place sustainability at the center of our investment approach,” including exiting investments in coal.
Absent from SEC’s discussion is any reference to the robust public debate and criticism of BlackRock’s letter and its continued investments in the coal and oil sectors. Mr. Fink’s letter is presented by SEC as though it is widely popular and uncontroversial, and that cannot be further from the truth.
Earlier this week, Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma testified at a hearing entitled “Ensuring Transparency in Petroleum Markets” before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Kathleen discussed the need for the president to reverse course to enable American producers to increase supply and bring down energy prices.
The following are excerpts from responses by Kathleen and Robert McCullough, Principal, McCullough Research, to questions from the senators. Her full written testimony is also available here
On March 3rd, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in response to a question about increasing domestic oil production, attempted to shift blame to oil companies by citing “9,000 approved oil leases that the oil companies are not tapping into currently.” In subsequent press conferences, she adjusted that to 9,000 permits and went on a Twitter storm to shift blame.
While we may not appreciate the cynical attempt to deny the effects of the president’s own “no federal oil” policies, we appreciate the White House is suddenly messaging to “encourage” us to produce. When my tweet was picked up by a Fox News White House correspondent, it garnered more attention than usual, leading environmental groups to jump in and pound on the 9,000 approved APDs outstanding.