The Biden administration’s climate czar, John Kerry, proclaimed Tuesday that despite record-high gas prices, the United States doesn’t need to drill for more oil or natural gas.
Speaking during a forum, Kerry said that some analysts have suggested that “we need more drilling” and “we need to go back to coal.” He then argued: “No, we don’t. We absolutely don’t.”
The former secretary of state also suggested that he will push back on alleged false narratives that the United States needs to drill more and use more traditional energy sources. Kerry delivered his remarks at the University of Southern California’s Center for Public Diplomacy on June 10.
Kerry’s comments come as data from auto club AAA shows that the average price for a gallon of gasoline remained steady at $5.01 nationwide. California is still leading the way with an average price of $6.43 per gallon. No other state has reached $6 gas so far.
Because of the elevated prices, Republicans and oil industry executives have suggested that the Biden administration’s policies are at least partially to blame. President Joe Biden issued a series of executive orders last year, including suspending the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, suspending new drilling on federal land, and ending federal subsidies for fossil fuels, among other orders.
Democrats and Biden, meanwhile, have said the high gas prices are caused by the war in Ukraine, often blaming the spike on Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, gas prices and year-over-year inflation had been rising long before the invasion in February.
Some analysts, including GasBuddy, have said that a surge in the demand for oil and other petroleum products as countries emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns is also contributing to the high prices. A report in June of last year found that U.S. refining capability shrunk about 4.5 percent in 2020 as COVID-19 caused oil and gas facilities to shut down.
Although Kerry said the United States and other Western countries shouldn’t opt for more coal-based energy, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been heavily promoting relying more on coal-fired plants in recent months. CCP officials in April said China, which has a significant amount of coal reserves, plans on boosting coal production by 300 million tons in 2022, according to reports. That’s equal to 7 percent of last year’s output of 4.1 billion tons, or a 5.7 percent increase over 2020’s figures, according to The Associated Press.
And late last month, India’s government said that it would reopen old coal mines to increase output by 100 million tons as cities have suffered frequent rolling blackouts amid a heat wave. In a memo released on May 7, the Indian environmental ministry gave coal mines permission to boost production by as much as 50 percent without permits.