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Joe Biden’s limits on LNG exports won’t help the climate

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on the The Economist or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: President Joe Biden announced a "temporary pause" on pending LNG (liquefied natural gas) export projects to assess their economic, security, and environmental impacts
This decision does not affect already approved projects but freezes proposals beneficial to countries without free-trade agreements with the US
The move has sparked various reactions, from climate campaigners celebrating to allies worrying about America's reliability and those seeing natural gas as a crucial transition fuel toward greener energy feeling disappointed

🔭 The context: The U.S. became the world's largest LNG exporter, a significant shift from its position before the Ukraine crisis, with exports increasing significantly to Europe as a response to reduced Russian gas supplies
The pause reflects Biden's navigation of domestic political pressures, especially from the climate-anxious left wing of his Democratic Party, amidst global energy dynamics and environmental concerns

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The decision highlights the ongoing debate around the role of natural gas in the energy transition, balancing between reducing immediate carbon emissions and long-term commitments to renewable energy sources
It also reflects the challenges in aligning energy policy with climate goals, particularly in addressing methane emissions associated with LNG production and transport

⏭️ What's next: Depending on future administrations, the U.S. could either ramp up fossil fuel production or continue to shift towards more sustainable energy practices
The scrutiny and potential reduction in carbon intensity of the U.S. LNG could make it more appealing to markets demanding cleaner fuel production.

💬 One quote: "We all just won…I have a beer in my hand," (Bill McKibben, climate activist)

📈 One stat: U.S. LNG exports increased from 16 million tonnes in 2021 to 46 million tonnes the following year, marking a significant response to the European energy crisis triggered by the Ukraine conflict

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