Electoral risk in Biden fossil fuel policies - Rabe

May 26, 2023 E&E EnergyWire

Barry Rabe, E&E EnergyWire:  “I think there’s always a risk of, probably not seeing voters shift from say a Biden to a Trump, but possibly not participating,” said Barry Rabe, an author and environmental professor at the University of Michigan.

On a certain level, Biden’s support for fossil fuels isn’t unusual. Former President Barack Obama, for example, “facilitated” the natural gas fracking boom in the U.S., the University of Michigan’s Rabe noted.

Back then, it was easier for a Democratic president to support natural gas than it is now because the emissions risks were not as well understood, Rabe said. During the Obama years, the U.S. also lifted a decadeslong embargo on crude oil exports.

That reversed a historically import-heavy U.S. energy trade balance.

“It was a huge shift and change,” Rabe said. “The idea at that point was that natural gas was this transition point from coal, which kind of underscored the all-of-the-above strategy. And also, keep in mind, no one at that point was using the ‘m’ word of methane.”

“It creates, I think, an unusual election for us, where [Biden], assuming he’s renominated, is able to run on a record of new legislation in the environment, climate, [and] energy space. We haven’t had that experience before,” Rabe said.