News of the Day:
Exxon denies Trump called CEO for money. But Big Oil is donating way more to Trump than Biden
Matt Egan, CNN, October 20, 2020
President Donald Trump is a fierce backer of the fossil fuels industry. And that support is paying off big time in the money race.
Trump is crushing Joe Biden in campaign donations from the embattled oil-and-gas industry. The president and outside groups aligned with him have raised nearly $13 million from individuals at oil-and-gas companies, according to OpenSecrets, a research group that tracks money in politics. That easily dwarfs the $976,000 the industry has sent to Biden.
It’s not shocking that the oil-and-gas industry is firmly in Trump’s camp. Not only do oil-dominant states like Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota reliably vote Republican, but Trump has touted an agenda of American energy dominance marked by cutting environmental regulations and pushing energy exports.
Biden’s green energy plan seeks to end natural gas use within 15 years
Will Wade, Gerson Freitas Jr. and Jennifer A. Dlouhy, World Oil, October 19, 2020
During a town hall meeting Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden again assured shale producers that he wouldn’t ban fracking if elected. Then, in virtually the same breath, he touted his $2 trillion clean-energy plan, which aims to edge natural gas out of the power mix within 15 years.
The former vice president’s efforts to walk a tightrope on gas reflect the fossil fuel’s precarious place in the economy. For now, it’s an essential part of American life. Biden has been careful not to make an enemy of the industry, especially in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, home to the largest U.S. shale-gas field. His policies may even, in the short-term, support the gas market.
But in the long run, the fuel may prove economically and environmentally untenable within the power sector, a key market for producers. Biden’s climate plan would only accelerate that outcome, with massive investments in wind, solar and battery storage giving those energy sources a leg up. And his goal of a carbon-neutral grid would severely curb, if not destroy, gas’s share of the pie in favor of cheaper, cleaner renewables.
“Decarbonization isn’t a debate — it’s a fossil-fuel death sentence,” said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners. “It means a resource is going off the grid. That is the inevitable implication.”
Alaska senator vows action to stop Pebble mine
Mining.Com, October 19, 2020
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, a long-time skeptic of the proposed Pebble mine project, is now pledging to take further congressional action, including the use of the federal appropriations process, to protect the ecologically sensitive Bristol Bay region. Speaking virtually at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) annual convention last week, Murkowski, who serves as chairwoman of both the Senate Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she would use spending legislation to protect Bristol Bay, which is home to the world’s biggest salmon run and one of its largest commercial fisheries.
The U.S.-China climate rupture
Ben Geman, Axios, October 20, 2020
Well that, as Ron Burgundy would say, escalated quickly. China’s foreign ministry is accusing the Trump administration of “major retrogression” on climate and being an environmental “troublemaker.”
Why it matters: China’s unusual statement Monday widens the rupture between the world’s largest carbon emitters as global climate efforts are flagging and the pandemic’s effect on emissions is too small to be consequential in the long term.
Our thought bubble, via Axios’ Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: This is a pretty smart line of attack for Beijing, which seems to have determined that a world increasingly wary of China would still welcome its climate leadership, particularly given the U.S. abandonment of this issue under President Trump.