One of Trump’s big aims during his first term was to greatly increase oil and gas extraction, to the point where the USA is energy independent.
For those who have looked at the data, there are several problems with this.
Firstly, the current upper estimate for the amount of oil and gas left to be extracted in the USA is approximately 43.8 billion barrels, however has the USA gets to about 7.5 billion barrels of petroleum products a year, we are only talking about 6 years. Even if twice as much oil and gas remains, the USA will still run out in little over a decade.
Secondly, we need to dramatically reduce the amount of oil and gas used, and leave as much reserves in the ground as we possibly can. If we extract it all it will be impossible to to keep global warming below 2 degrees centigrade.
Thirdly, it is questionable whether the auction and the sale of leases can be completed before trump leaves office. Any sane person would agree, Trump lost and that is at least partly due to his determined ignorance and refusal to address climate change properly. To therefore tie the hands of the next president and make it impossible for him to do the right thing is democratically unacceptable. Indeed, it is likely that the government will have to pay oil companies handsomely to get out of these stupid trump agreements in order to come close to cuts necessary for America’s future health let alone the rest of the worlds.
And finally it will greatly increase the production of oil and gas, at precisely the time that the USA should be moving towards clean power most forcefully. If over the next decade, the USA engages in an insulation project to fully insulate all buildings in the USA, as well as greatly increasing the number of solar panels and wind farms (both of which already generate far cheaper electricity than oil or gas) alongside vast megawatt hour energy storage systems, including batteries, this excess oil and gas could be completely unnecessary.
However there is another problem. The Arctic refuge is just that, a refuge. It is a critical part of wildlife habitat, which polar bears and other arctic mammals rely on to make it through the whole year.
The Arctic refuge is one of the world’s last great wilderness, and the idea that a man who many historians claim is the worst president so far, could condemn it to destruction on the way out of the door after losing the electoral college by what he called the landslide, and the largest popular vote in history, spits in the face of democracy.
I wish for polar bears and Arctic wolves, and the many other fascinating creatures of the Arctic refuge to live to be seen by my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and it is clear that the majority of Americans agree with me. We can only hope that other branches of the American government can stop this travesty from occurring.