As seen in Real Clear Energy:
Since day one, Biden has declared war on American Energy. Whether by his pronouncement ending the Keystone pipeline as a means to cut-off essential natural gas, or by ending the sale of drilling leases to cut down on oil production, Biden has the knives out for fossil fuels. But apparently, only American fossil fuels: Just last week, Biden was in Saudi Arabia, shamelessly continuing on his spree, begging foreign nations to increase their oil production.
As they deal with sky-high gas prices, Americans have been asking the right question: Why not utilize our own rich oil and natural gas resources? Unfortunately, ESG standards are one of the underlying impediments towards realizing America’s true energy potential.
ESG (environmental, social, and governance) standards are a framework through which American firms are graded on how much they care about climate change, and how closely they tow the Left’s line when it comes to the woke agenda. It is a coercive measure used by the government to ensure that the private sector aligns itself with the agenda of the powers that be. We have seen what happens when private companies are utilized to advance political objectives–1930s Germany and 1990s Venezuela come to mind.
When it comes to energy policy, the Biden administration and radical environmental activists see ESG as a means to transition the U.S. off fossil fuels for the sake of “stopping” climate change. One has to wonder what sort of ESG score OPEC, whom Biden has requested to increase its oil production, would receive. This is all clearly politicized.
Because of ESG scores, major financial houses are encouraged to divest from high carbon-emission industries. This has led oil and gas producers to seek capital from elsewhere, but at a higher rate more comparable to credit card interest rates. It should come as no surprise that this translates into higher prices at the gas pump. Anyone who understands basic economics will tell you that higher production costs always end up being passed off onto the consumer.
However, with Biden’s climate agenda stalled in Congress, his administration has taken a page out of the Obama playbook–governing by pen-and-phone. With the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC)’s recently proposed climate disclosure regulations, companies would be forced to yet again disclose their emissions as they pertain to ESG standards. Companies should be focused on profits and products, not abiding by arbitrary disclosure standards.
The SEC’s climate disclosure proposal is just another added level of bureaucracy meant to leverage ESG scores to advance a radical climate agenda.
Recall that much of the decline in American carbon emissions in the past decade has been due to the fracking boom, not increases in unreliable and taxpayer subsidized green energy. American standards for oil and gas production are already among the most stringent and safest for the environment in the world–so why again is Biden outsourcing production of fossil fuels to OPEC, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela?
Thanks to the Biden administration’s push for burdensome ESG standards, Americans are now faced with higher gas prices for little gain in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. There’s no silver bullet to solve both of these problems, but rejecting further ESG proposals would be a step in the right direction.
Adam Brandon is the president of FreedomWorks and the author of America in Perspective: Defending the American Dream for the Next Generation.