President Joe Biden on Wednesday called global warming a crisis, likening it to COVID-19, and ordered the Department of the Interior to “pause” new oil and gas leasing on public land and review existing practices.
Fossil fuel leasing on federal and tribal land makes up a small percentage of onshore production, but environmentalists see Biden’s order as one way to make a dent in carbon output.
Biden reiterated Wednesday that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, won’t be banned but said the government needs to help create more jobs in cleaner energy.
“What Biden is doing is setting up what essentially will be a planning opportunity,” said Tom Sanzillo at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
He said Big Oil’s business model is unsustainable and needs to change. “We need some kind of new, constructive action and I think this could be it.”