Transitioning Away From Fossil Fuels And The Future Role of Pipelines In The US

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Transitioning Away From Fossil Fuels And The Future Role of Pipelines In The US

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 15:08
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The flag of the USA (copyright by Shutterstock/Graeme Dawes)
The flag of the USA (copyright by Shutterstock/Graeme Dawes)

As Americans wind down the long and oftentimes tortuous presidential campaign by casting their ballots before the 3 November election deadline, the role of energy and particularly hydrocarbons has taken the spotlight in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Texas and Oklahoma.  Joe Biden has stated that he will "transition" away from "polluting" fossil fuels toward renewable energy "over time."  It is a view that resonates with a majority of Americans who see a link between combustible energy and climate change.  

“I would transition away from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said. “The oil industry pollutes, significantly. It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”

The Biden campaign’s climate plan calls for the U.S. to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And he repeated his pledge to end federal subsidies for the oil and gas industry. However, Biden’s plan does not call for a ban on climate-damaging fossil fuels, focusing instead on technologies that can capture pollution from oil and other sources.

In the suburbs that might be key to Donald Trump's path to victory, Pennsylvania voters have shown opposition to the drilling and the massive pipelines required to move its product across the state. National polling shows growing skepticism of fracking.

The key to forecasting Biden's prospective approach to climate change is the examination of the science behind it:  tackling climate change means sharply cutting oil, gas and coal emissions, and that means eliminating most burning of fossil fuels. Biden talks of a 30-year transition to a carbon-free economy, by encouraging more wind and solar power and more energy efficiency.

The PTJ, in previous articles, has focused on various European initiatives that would use the existing pipeline infrastructure to transport hydrogen instead of natural gas. This development has received less attention in the United States, but one that would likely move the needle if there is a change in administrations in 2021.  Polls show about three in four Americans are concerned about dangerous warming of the nation and planet.

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