The illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine – and its impact on the cost and supply of energy – underscores the importance of reliable and affordable energy even as the world continues the transition to cleaner energy. This changes the political debate related to climate change, energy, national security and even the economy, and provides an opportunity to advance progress on all of these fronts.
Pursuing climate progress and energy security are not mutually exclusive. We can both increase domestic oil and natural gas production and accelerate the energy transition. The benefits of increased domestic energy production couldn’t be clearer, especially at this time of conflict: curbing the cash flows that fund Russia’s war machine is a global priority, not to mention the potential price relief. by increasing the supply. And reducing the world’s dependence on Russian oil and natural gas – among the dirtiest in the world – also offers environmental benefits. Beyond this, there is strong consensus on the value of accelerating clean energy deployment and its associated environmental and energy security benefits.
We are therefore encouraged by the efforts of Senators Manchin and Murkowski to seek a bipartisan body that could support these goals. We strongly believe that energy and climate policy must be established by Congress to be sustainable, and that the best way to promote the planning and innovation that will underpin an effective energy transition is through legislation with bipartisan support. Last year’s success with a long-awaited infrastructure package proved that meaningful legislative action – while requiring considerable work and commitment – is possible.
With this in mind, we recommend the following seven building blocks as the foundation of a “big market” in climate and energy security:
- Congress and the Administration should pursue a whole-of-government approach to energy security similar to the Administration’s approach to climate change. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said, “We are on a war footing. We are in a hurry. She is right, and the administration should reflect that urgency by leveraging all available expertise and tools to bolster the energy security of the United States and its international partners and allies.
- A long-term strategy is needed. Some have opposed certain policy measures such as increased oil and natural gas production because their effect would not be immediate. This implies that energy security is a short-term concern. On the contrary, it is clear that energy security must remain a priority for decades. The US policy approach should reflect this reality, and beneficial actions should be pursued regardless of their objective of longer-term gains.
Accelerating the transition to clean energy can greatly improve energy security. Thereby, technology-neutral tax incentives in sectors such as transportation, manufacturing and electric power should be seen as a national security imperative that accelerates the commercialization and deployment of low-carbon technologies. In addition, concessional financing mechanisms are needed to accelerate the deployment of emerging technologies.
Quick acceleration dependence on foreign supplies of critical minerals and materials must be addressed. Simply put, we face a shortage of minerals, materials and processing capacity to support the clean energy transition. The United States and its allies should not substitute dependence on Russian oil and natural gas for dependence on clean energy resources and products made from materials from other countries. This trades one dependency for another and will not improve energy security. A comprehensive approach is needed to increase production and processing here at home and with friendly allies.
- Authorization should facilitate investment and not create obstacles. The US system for permitting development of projects, especially those that require National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, is notoriously flawed. Projects of all kinds – renewable energy, power transmission, critical mineral mining, oil and natural gas, and pipelines – face significant delays and may even be halted due to unnecessarily lengthy reviews by NEPA and related disputes. More efficient permitting processes have always made sense, but project delays related to both energy security and energy transition add a heightened level of urgency.
- Leverage diplomacy and international financing to strengthen the energy security of partners and allies. International engagement efforts should emphasize energy security as a central diplomatic objective. Bilateral and multilateral funding efforts should be leveraged to enhance the energy security of partners and allies. Unnecessary funding restrictions on projects that reduce emissions and improve energy security should be removed.
Finally, we have to promote national energy production and the development of infrastructure necessary to enhance energy security.This means not only breaking down barriers to leasing and licensing oil and natural gas in the domestic market, but also pursuing policies that facilitate investment in electric vehicle charging, pipelines and infrastructure. ‘export. It is important to note that these policies are not incompatible with climate objectives. For example, it is understood that European efforts to replace imports of Russian natural gas with cleaner American gas will reduce emissions. And with good long-term planning, natural gas infrastructure can be converted to support hydrogen, carbon capture and sequestration, and related technologies that will support decarbonization goals.
The details of each element will of course require careful consideration, and we look forward to engaging in the political discussion. But this moment in history demands public and private sector action to advance both energy security and climate progress.
About the authors
Senior Vice President, Policy
Martin (Marty) Durbin is Chairman of the Global Energy Institute (GEI) of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Durbin leads GEI’s efforts to build support for meaningful energy action through policy development, education and advocacy, making it a compelling voice for common sense energy solutions.