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Environmentalists have lashed out at President Biden after he called on OPEC+ to boost oil production in a bid to arrest the price climb at the pump.
“If Biden’s going to urge OPEC to increase oil production one day after the UN’s ‘code red’ climate report, he may as well come to California and personally light more wildfires,” the director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, Kassie Siegel, told The Independent.
“This US statement is horrifying, and we won’t stand for it. We’ll hold Biden accountable to his promises to lead on climate. There is no way to address the climate emergency without limiting oil production. They are one and the same,” she added.
Earlier this week, Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that “We are engaging with relevant OPEC+ members on the importance of competitive markets in setting prices.”
“Competitive energy markets will ensure reliable and stable energy supplies, and OPEC+ must do more to support the recovery,” he added, noting that rising gasoline prices risked hurting this recovery.
“Calling for increased OPEC+ oil production demonstrates the fallacy of the White House Federal lands energy ban,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce VP Christopher Guith, as quoted by Politico. “We need to let the US produce oil under the world’s strictest environmental standards and boost our economy instead of Russia’s and the Middle East.”
The Governor of Texas also joined in the comments, tweeting, “Dear White House: Texas can do this. Our producers can easily produce that oil if your Administration will just stay out of the way. Allow American workers—not OPEC—produce the oil that can reduce the price of gasoline. Don’t make us dependent on foreign sources of energy.”
The White House statement raised some eyebrows, both in environmentalist and Republican circles, because of the White House’s firm stance against oil and gas and for greener alternatives. Just earlier this week, Congress moved closer towards the passing of President Biden’s $3.5-trillion bill aimed at tacking climate change, among other priorities.
Yet this is not Biden’s first call to OPEC to open the taps. Last month, when Saudi Arabia and the UAE locked horns on production baselines and quotas under the OPEC+ agreement, the U.S. President again called on the cartel to pump more. The cartel and its partners have yet to respond to the latest plea for more oil.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com