Drilling for more oil not needed: Is John Kerry right?

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Fact Box

  • US Special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry asserted at the USC Center for Public Diplomacy on June 10, 2022, “And energy security worry is driving a lot of the thoughts now about, ‘Oh, we need more drilling, we need more drilling of this, we need to go back to coal.’ No we don’t. We absolutely don’t.”
  • According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2021 was “one of the seven warmest years on record” since 2015. The global average temperature rose 1.11℃ above pre-industrial age temperatures. 
  • As of June 15, 2022, AAA reported the national gas price average was $5.014 which is compared to $3.076 from the previous year. The highest recorded price was $5.016 on June 14, 2022. 
  • By the end of May 2022, the price of living increased across the board with inflation at 8.6%: energy at 3.9%, gasoline at 4.1%, and food at 1.2%. The largest contributors of the inflation spike came from shelter, airfares, and vehicles. 
  • On March 8, 2022, President Biden placed a ban on Russian oil and energy imports with Britain issuing a phase-out ban by the end of 2022. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, oil prices have risen over 30%.

Andrew (Yes)

While skyrocketing fuel prices have led some individuals to call for increased production in terms of more drilling for oil, John Kerry has correctly identified that more drilling will not solve any problems in the short or the long term. Even if the United States did start drilling for more oil immediately, we wouldn't see the benefit until much further down the road. Oil companies would have to set up their drilling rigs, find the oil, and then get it to refineries, none of which would happen fast enough to ease prices at the pump this summer. The American oil and gas industry, the world's largest producer, simply doesn't have the capacity to add in the short term, a fact underlined by the industry's 9,000 approved but unused drilling permits currently held.

Rather than drill into the earth, our government should drill into the corporate greed fueling high prices. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Exxon-Mobile raked in $97 million daily. In the same year, BP, Chevron, Shell, and Exxon-Mobile all saw record profits. These companies are flush with cash and using it to pay stock dividends and bonuses during a time of struggle for many Americans. To make matters worse, they are reaping enormous profits from increased prices due to the Ukraine war.

Finally, we need to move to renewable energy sources as a nation. The looming climate crisis demands a reduction in fossil fuels if we wish to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and moving to renewable sources would mean complete energy independence for the United States.

Curtice (No)

John Kerry's elitism is on full display when he states America 'absolutely' doesn't need to drill for more oil. As inflation continues to rise and the gas price at the pump soars well above $5 per gallon, Kerry is unconcerned with the issue, being rich enough to be unaffected.

Energy independence should be a goal of the United States. More domestic oil production would accomplish that, as well as create more jobs. Kerry's continual climate alarmism is tiresome. Americans are having to make tough lifestyle choices and, in many instances, life-altering changes as a result of the increasing costs of almost everything. Kerry, conversely, owns multiple homes, a large yacht, and frequently files on private jets, which all require carbon-emitting energy to work and maintain.

Much of the high cost Americans currently face is driven by the cost of fuel. If driving Americans into financial distress with ever-increasing fuel and energy costs is Kerry's goal (as well as the Biden administration), he is succeeding. 

Just last year, after Biden canceled the Keystone pipeline—along with plenty of jobs—Kerry suggested laid-off oil workers learn to build solar panels. Yet, the solar industry still can't compete against fossil fuels without heavy federal subsidies and tax credits

Furthermore, Kerry is not allowing reality shape his climate ideology. Climate models are known and have been proven to be regularly flawed. Some may have even been fraudulent. One need look no further than Michael Mann's infamous hockey stick graph. Some of Mann's emails showed he tried to 'hide the decline' in temperatures that did not fit his pre-determined climate model. Becoming energy independent and drilling locally is what America desperately needs during this record inflationary period.

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