Before you do anything else, see this, because despite the fact that it is focused from a global perspective, it is extremely useful…

Fossil Fuels

FOSSIL FUELS

Fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) are non-renewable sources of energy formed in the earth over the past 550 million years, typically from the remains of marine microorganisms and plants. Sealed off from oxygen and put under ever-increasing amounts of heat and pressure, this organic matter undergoes a thermal breakdown process that ultimately converts it to hydrocarbons.

When fossil fuels are burned, they release pollutants which contribute to global warming and acid rain.

The United States gets 80% of its total energy from fossil fuels. They heat our homes, run our vehicles, power industry and manufacturing, and provide us with electricity. Eventually, the degree to which we depend on fossil fuels will have to decline as they are non-renewable resources, as the difficulty and cost of tapping remaining reserves increase, and as the effect of their continued use on our planet grows more critical 

In 1950, nearly equal amounts of U.S. residential energy came from petroleum, coal, natural gas, and wood, and relatively little came from electricity (5%). In 2018, the U.S. residential sector consumed natural gas (43%) and electricity (42%) in nearly equal shares. Similarly, the U.S. commercial sector’s 2018 energy consumption was also mostly natural gas (38%) and electricity (50%).

CURRENT NEWS

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Highlight Article

Judge overturns Biden’s LNG export pause

By Niina H. Farah 07/02/24
A federal judge reversed the Department of Energy’s freeze on new liquefied natural gas export approvals Monday, handing a win to industry and red states that had challenged the Biden administration plan. Judge James Cain…
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Oil industry pushes back versus softened fleet mpg standards

By Bengt Halvorson 06/20/24
The oil industry last week launched a legal challenge versus the U.S. EPA and its latest light- and medium-duty vehicle standards set for the 2027-2032 model years. The case was filed by the American Petroleum…
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Supreme court ruling delays climate litigation big oil has sought to thwart

By Dharna Noor 06/10/24
The supreme court on Monday asked the Biden administration to weigh in on big oil’s request to thwart litigation that could put them on the hook for billions of dollars. The one-line order will delay…
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Vermont Moves to Hold Fossil-Fuel Companies Liable for Climate-Change Damage

By Elizabeth Kolbert 05/27/24
On July 10, 2023, Vermont’s state capital, Montpelier, was hit with more than five inches of rain. The city sits at the confluence of the main stream of the Winooski and its north branch; the…
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Q&A: New Legislation in Vermont Will Make Fossil Fuel Companies Liable for Climate Impacts in the State. Here’s What That Could Look Like

By Paloma Beltran 05/25/24
Vermont’s House and Senate have approved a bill that would make fossil fuel companies financially liable for their carbon pollution and its role in the climate crisis. Lawmakers pointed to consequences of these carbon emissions,…
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Democrats ask DOJ to investigate Big Oil

By Emily Atkin 05/22/24
The Democrats leading the years-long congressional investigation into Big Oil’s climate deception are formally asking the Department of Justice to step in.
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DOJ must investigate Big Oil’s “ongoing enterprise,” lawmakers say

By Emily Sanders 05/22/24
The leaders of a years-long Congressional probe into Big Oil’s decades-long climate disinformation campaigns just formally referred their investigation to the Department of Justice, calling on the nation’s biggest public law office to “pursue further…
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How Oil Companies Manipulate Journalists

By Molly Taft 05/15/24
Kill the story.” That’s what Alan Jeffers, a media relations manager at ExxonMobil, told the Houston bureau chief of Reuters in October 2016, about a year after InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times, and Columbia…
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New Report ‘Ringing the Alarm Bell’ for Climate Advocacy Conflict of Interest

By Joe Fassler 05/08/24
In Colorado, fossil fuel interests are vigorously opposing legislative bills meant to clean up the state’s heavily polluted air. That might seem like business as usual, but a new report reveals a more serious dynamic:…
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New internal Big Oil documents just dropped

By Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson 04/30/24
In 2021, Congressional Democrats subpoenaed Big Oil for internal documents detailing the industry’s role in worsening the climate crisis. Some of the documents have already been released. But today, we got some more. The internal…
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Energy Department finalizes rule to phase out fossil fuels in federal buildings

By Nish Amarnath 04/29/24
In a push for net-zero emissions from federal facilities by 2045, the new rule mandates a 90% reduction in on-site fossil fuel use by 2029 and complete elimination after 2030.
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Biden Administration Raises Costs to Drill and Mine on Public Lands

By Coral Davenport 04/12/24
The Biden administration on Friday made it more expensive for fossil fuel companies to pull oil, gas and coal from public lands, raising royalty rates for the first time in 100 years in a bid…
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KEY RESOURCES

Causes and Effects of Climate Change

04/24/24
Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of…

Products Made From Oil And Natural Gas

08/23/23
When you think about oil, there is probably one thing that immediately comes to mind: motor oil for your car or lawn mower. And, when you hear about natural gas, you may think about heating…

Is Natural Gas A Fossil Fuel? Here’s What to Know

02/18/22
Is natural gas a fossil fuel? The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Natural gas is, in fact, a fossil fuel, but it is not the same type of fossil fuel as coal…

What’s the Deal With This Whole Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Anyway?

11/24/21
The news that President Joe Biden is releasing millions of barrels of oil from a federal stockpile raises a question. Well, a few actually. Namely, wait, what the hell? We have a huge stockpile of…

Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target

10/06/20
Net anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) must approach zero by mid-century (2050) in order to stabilize the global mean temperature at the level targeted by international efforts.

Greenhouse gas emissions results modelling from 26 countries

10/01/20
This working paper models 26 countries and finds national average emission reductions of 6 per cent from the removal of fossil fuel subsidies.

Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014)

10/01/20
This paper assesses whether ExxonMobil Corporation has in the past misled the general public about climate change.

Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions

08/20/20
New data shows how fossil fuel companies have driven climate crisis despite industry knowing dangers

It’s time to rein in the fossil fuel giants before their greed chokes the planet

08/20/20
We’ve long known that the big fossil fuel companies are responsible for a huge share of the world’s carbon emissions. Now the Climate Accountability Institute is publishing new data quantifying how much each of these…

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

02/19/20
With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why…

The future is now: How oil and gas companies can decarbonize

01/01/20
As the pressure to act on climate change builds, the industry should consider a range of options.

Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago

09/16/15
Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions

MORE NEWS

Crisis year 2022 brought $134 billion in excess profit to the West’s five largest oil and gas companies

02/09/23  
The global oil and gas industry saw historic gains from the fallout of the war in Ukraine, a global energy crisis and runaway climate change, as millions suffer the consequences.
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Documents show how a pipeline company paid Minnesota millions to police protests

By Alleen Brown and John McCracken   02/09/23  
The morning of June 7, 2021, Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Nelson of Beltrami County, Minnesota, bought water and refreshments, packed his gear, and prepared for what would be, in his own words, “a long day.” For…
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199 drilling permits blocked

By Joseph Winters   02/08/23  
Tribal nations and environmental groups in the U.S. Southwest scored a victory last week when a federal appeals court rejected nearly 200 new oil and gas drilling permits in the Greater Chaco region of New…
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Exxon’s Baytown refinery ranks among the leading water polluters in U.S., report shows

By Dylan Baddour and Martha Pskowski   01/27/23  
Neighbors of refineries can see the glowing flares and visible plumes of air pollution rising into the sky. But water pollution often happens at ground level, or below, out of sight for both local residents…
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Exxon’s climate research accurately projected global warming

By Andrew Freedman   01/12/23  
Exxon scientists have been at the forefront of climate change research using computer models, the study published in the journal Science shows. According to the study, between 63% and 83% of the climate projections reported…
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Big oil is behind conspiracy to deceive public

By Nina Lakhani   12/20/22  
Lawyer in a civil lawsuit launched by towns in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico describes why it is using laws used to target mob bossesThe same racketeering legislation used to bring down mob bosses, motorcycle gangs, football…
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Big oil talks ‘transition’ but perpetuates petroleum, House documents say

By Steven Mufson   12/09/22  
A House committee, accusing oil companies of deception, releases a trove of internal documents revealing how these firms view the ‘energy transition’
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Will Taxing the Windfall Profits of Oil Giants Fix Countries’ Economies?

By Patricia Cohen   11/18/22  
Major oil and gas companies have raked in multibillion-dollar profits at unheard-of levels. Households around the world are reeling from soaring energy prices, while governments are struggling with outsize spending and slowing economic growth.
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Interior: Oil ban around Chaco Canyon would block 47 wells

By Heather Richards   11/17/22  
The Interior Department is considering a 20-year moratorium on new oil development around Chaco Canyon National Historical Park in New Mexico, an area important to many Indigenous communities.
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Fossil fuel industry dupes media, quietly funds non-profits to block renewable energy

By Michael Thomas   11/15/22  
Shortly after he took office, President Biden announced a goal of building 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, enough clean energy to power 10 million homes. For the administration, the offshore wind target…
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NPR

A new climate reality is taking shape as renewables become widespread

By Dave Davies   11/10/22  
New York Times science writer David Wallace-Wells says the cost of solar and wind energy has fallen dramatically. Nevertheless, we're still facing painful, long-lasting changes to the planet...
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King oil reigns over American politics

By Meg Jacobs   11/05/22  
President Biden knows the political power of the price of gasoline. About two weeks ago, fearing what an uptick in gas prices might do to Democrats at the ballot box in the midterms, Mr. Biden…
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How Putin and Friends Stalled Climate Progress

By Somini Sengupta, Steven Lee Myers and others   11/05/22  
Vladimir V. Putin has long used Russia’s oil and gas as instruments of power at home and abroad. With the invasion of Ukraine in February, he has made them a weapon of war.
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Fossil fuel projects were stalled a year ago. Now they’re making a comeback.

By Evan Halper   11/03/22  
The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow last year ended with a resounding repudiation of fossil fuels, with countries including the United States signaling that it would be a costly mistake to move forward with big…
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Saudi Aramco Reports $42 Billion in Profit as Cash Rolls In for Oil Giants

By Stanley Reed   11/01/22  
Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, said on Tuesday that it had earned $42.4 billion in net income in the third quarter. The figure was more than double the nearly $20 billion that Exxon…
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This oil refinery poses a major environmental justice test for Biden

By Maxine Joselow and Others   10/28/22  
Good morning and welcome to The Climate 202! Our colleague Brady Dennis will moderate two conversations today at 11 a.m. ET with Jigar Shah, director of the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office, and Liane Randolph,…
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1 big thing: A fossil decline comes into view

By Ben GemanAndrew Freedman   10/27/22  
The International Energy Agency, for the first time, is projecting a "noticeable peak in overall fossil fuel consumption within this decade" under nations' existing policies, Ben writes.
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With Fossil Fuel Companies Facing Pressure to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Private Equity Is Buying Up Their Aging Oil, Gas and Coal Assets

By Nicholas Kusnetz   10/24/22  
When Continental Resources announced a deal last week to take the oil company private, it joined a trend that has swept across the fossil fuel sector in recent years. With investors agitating for energy companies…
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China accidentally made our gas much cheaper

By Robinson Meyer   10/19/22  
You’d be forgiven, at this point, for believing in what the MSNBC host Chris Hayes calls the “gas prices monocausal theory” of American politics. Every major political dynamic, every twist and turn in approval polling…
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Biden to Release More Oil From U.S. Stockpile Held in Salt Caves

By Molly Taft   10/19/22  
On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced that it would pull an additional 15 million barrels of oil out of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help juice up oil supplies and keep gas prices…
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Truck makers tout an electric future. Privately, they’re stalling it.

By Anna Phillips   10/18/22  
Diesel trucks are some of the biggest health and climate offenders on the road. The industry isn’t racing to change that.
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Biden to announce release of more petroleum from strategic reserve

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.   10/18/22  
The administration faces big political pressures, but it has been criticized for leaning heavily on the reserve as gas prices have largely stabilized.
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Will the biggest fossil fuel states sabotage Biden’s climate package?

By Capital & Main   10/10/22  
Hailed by President Biden as “the most aggressive action ever to combat the climate crisis,” the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) commits $369 billion to clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction. But the IRA’s progress towards…
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How Will OPEC’s Oil Production Cuts Affect Gas Prices and Inflation?

By David Mchugh   10/07/22  
Major oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia have decided to slash the amount of oil they deliver to the global economy. And the law of supply and demand suggests that can only mean…
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As gas prices rise, Democrats scramble to lay blame on Big Oil

By Evan Halper   10/04/22  
As prices at the pump trend up nationwide, the Biden administration is scrambling to shelter Democrats from consumer frustration, laying blame on oil company opportunism and threatening new restrictions on the industry.
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Huge expansion of oil pipelines endangering climate, says report

By Damian Carrington   09/27/22  
More than 24,000km of new oil pipelines are under development around the world, a distance equivalent to almost twice the Earth’s diameter, a report has revealed. The projects, led by the US, Russia, China and…
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Oil Executives Privately Contradicted Public Statements on Climate, Files Show

By Hiroko Tabuchi   09/14/22  
The documents, subpoenaed in a House investigation of climate disinformation, show company leaders contravening industry commitments....
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Oil and Gas Assets at Risk

Dr. Zeke Hausfather and Others   09/11/22  
When shockwaves ripple across global oil and gas markets, local communities in oil- and gas-producing regions of the United States feel pronounced economic repercussions. While Russia’s war in Ukraine is currently stimulating public interest in…
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US Supreme Court’s Gorsuch allows enforcement of $155 million award against Sunoco

By Nate Raymond   09/08/22  
US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on Thursday rejected Sunoco LP’s request to block efforts to enforce a $155 million judgment against the fuel retailer in a lawsuit accusing it of failing to pay interest…
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Federal judge finds Enbridge trespassed on Bad River lands, but stops short of shutting down Line 5

By Danielle Kaeding   09/08/22  
A federal judge has ruled Canadian energy firm Enbridge Inc. trespassed on Bad River tribal lands and profited at the tribe’s expense but stopped short of shutting down an oil and gas pipeline across the…
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$14 million air pollution fine for Exxon’s Baytown refinery stands

By Clark Mindock   08/30/22  
ExxonMobil Corp must pay a $14.25 million fine over air pollution at its Baytown, Texas crude oil refinery, a federal appeals court affirmed Tuesday. It is the largest penalty ever assessed in a citizen enforcement…
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Chinatown sees flood of new business after rough sailing during Covid

By Jeff Jeffrey   08/19/22  
The area of southwest Houston that is home to the second-largest Indochinese population in the United States was devastated by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic hardships left in its wake. But things…
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Court strikes down ruling that blocked Biden’s oil drilling pause

By Dino Grandoni and Others   08/17/22  
A federal appellate judge struck down a lower court’s decision that had stopped the Biden administration from pausing the auction of oil and gas drilling rights in federal lands and water, a key campaign pledge…
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These Groups Want Disruptive Climate Protests. Oil Heirs Are Funding Them.

By Cara Buckley   08/11/22  
They’ve taken hammers to gas pumps and glued themselves to museum masterpieces and busy roadways. They’ve chained themselves to banks, rushed onto a Grand Prix racetrack and tethered themselves to goal posts as tens of…
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Gas prices are falling — Here’s why it’s happening and whether it can continue

By Pippa Stevens   08/11/22  
Gas prices are below $4 for the first time since March, but the market remains precarious and experts said it’s too early to know if the move lower will hold. The national average for a…
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A Pipeline Giant Pleads ‘No Contest’ to Environmental Crimes in Pennsylvania After Homeowners Complained of Tainted Water

By Jon Hurdle   08/10/22  
Lora Snyder never had a problem with the water that supplies her house from a private well until an Energy Transfer subsidiary, Sunoco Pipeline, started in 2018 to drill a tunnel about 1,000 feet away…
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Manchin’s Donors Include Pipeline Giants That Win in His Climate Deal

By Hiroko Tabuchi   08/07/22  
After years of spirited opposition from environmental activists, the Mountain Valley Pipeline — a 304-mile gas pipeline cutting through the Appalachian Mountains — was behind schedule, over budget and beset with lawsuits. As recently as…
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U.S. Ships More Gas to Europe Than Russia Sends by Pipeline

By Joe Wallace   08/03/22  
One measure of how fast the war in Ukraine has redrawn the energy map: The U.S. is sending more gas to Europe by ship than Russia is by pipeline, according to data firm ICIS. Pipelines…
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Federal government suspends new drilling and fracking leases on public lands in Central California

By Tony Briscoe   08/01/22  
California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta announced Monday that the state has reached a settlement with the federal government to halt new oil and gas leases on public lands in Central California until the potential risks…
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Fossil fuels

By Gustaw Szarek   08/01/22  
The combustion of fossil fuels produces 83 percent of global CO₂ emissions. In a net-zero transition, they would be eliminated through a shift in the energy mix. By 2050, oil production would be 55 percent…
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Shell reports record profit, again, with $11.5 billion in latest quarter.

By Stanley Reed   07/28/22  
Shell reported record earnings for the second consecutive quarter on Thursday, as the energy giant continues to prosper from high oil and gas prices spurred by the war in Ukraine and other factors.
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Biggest Gasoline Pipeline in the U.S. Reports Spill, a Year After Notorious Cyberattack

By Molly Taft   07/13/22  
There’s more trouble with the Colonial Pipeline: The nation’s largest gasoline pipeline reported a spill in Tennessee in early July, adding onto more than a year of public problems with the company, from a catastrophic…
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Biden administration holding its first onshore oil sales

By Matthew Brown   06/29/22  
The U.S. government this week is holding its first onshore oil and natural gas drilling lease auctions since President Joe Biden took office after a federal court blocked the administration’s attempt to suspend such sales…
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Biden’s Inner Circle Debates Future of Offshore Drilling

By Lisa Friedman   06/24/22  
President Biden’s top aides are weighing whether to ban new oil and gas drilling off America’s coasts, a move that would elate climate activists but could leave the administration vulnerable to Republican accusations that it…
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Five-Year Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program: Status and Issues in Brief

By Laura B. Comay   06/23/22  
Five-Year Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program: Status and Issues in Brief Congressional Research Service 1 nder the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), as amended,1 the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) within the…
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Clean energy investment lags as oil and gas prices soar.

By Patricia Cohen   06/22/22  
The head of the International Energy Agency said high prices for fossil fuels would probably persist for years.
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The Wrong People Are Making Our Energy Decisions

By David Blackmon   06/16/22  
This has been a week when a rift seemed to develop among global political leaders regarding the “incredible” energy transition agenda. It’s a rift that once again shows us that political elites who don’t have…
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Now Is Biden’s Chance to Address the Source of Nearly 1/4 of All U.S. Carbon Emissions

By Earthjustice and Evergreen Action   06/15/22  
President Biden can use his legal authority to transition the U.S. away from oil, gas, and coal by aligning the federal leasing program with his climate and environmental justice commitments...
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Fossil fuel leasing program undercuts Biden’s climate goals, report says

By Maxine Joselow   06/15/22  
The federal fossil fuel leasing program is at odds with President Biden's commitments to tackling climate change and environmental injustices, according to a report shared exclusively with The Climate 202 before its public release...
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Why gas prices are so high

By Ella Koeze and Clifford Krauss   06/14/22  
Gas prices in the United States are at record highs. And even when adjusting for inflation, they are on average at levels rarely seen in the last 50 years, including during the energy crisis of…
Read more