Trump says the U.S. doesn’t need Middle Eastern oil. For once, he’s right.

President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday morning about the
heightened conflict between the U.S. and Iran after Trump ordered
the killing of military commander Qassem Soleimani last week. Trump
eased fears about U.S. military retaliation to an Iranian strike on
an Iraqi base housing U.S. troops on Tuesday night. Then he took
the opportunity to brag about America’s oil and gas industry.
“We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas
anywhere in the world,” he said. “We are independent, and we do
not need Middle East oil.”

We don’t get to say this very often, but Trump is right — on
this specific point, at least. Crude oil imports from the Middle
East to the United States have been steadily declining for years.
In 2018, oil from the Persian Gulf made up only 16
percent
of U.S. petroleum imports. These days, almost half of
the oil the U.S. buys internationally comes from the Canadian tar
sands.

A line chart showing decreasing U.S. imports of oil from Persian Gulf countries between 2000 and 2018.Clayton Aldern /
Grist

Even more to Trump’s point, U.S. oil and natural gas
production is booming. We produced more oil and gas than any other
country in 2018, and net imports made up just
11 percent
of our total domestic petroleum consumption.

Two line charts comparing oil and gas production between the United States and other top producers between 2000 and 2018. The United States is the top producer in recent years.Clayton Aldern /
Grist

But while Trump is celebrating this as part of his economic
track record, he’s also showcasing the United States’ central
role in speeding up climate change under his leadership. U.S.
greenhouse gas emissions
declined by 2 percent
in 2019, thanks in part to the decline in
coal in the electricity sector. But that dip will likely be short
lived.

A new
report
by the Environmental Integrity Project released on
Wednesday found that current plans to expand drilling, if approved,
will result in an additional 36 million tons of annual greenhouse
gas emissions by 2025. That number jumps to
227 million
when taking into account new fossil fuel plants and
the growth of other oil and gas products, like petrochemicals,
plastics, and fertilizers. According to the report, the expansions
will be equivalent to firing up 50 new coal plants.

So maybe we don’t need Middle East oil, but our energy
independence is coming at a major cost to humanity.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline
Trump says the U.S. doesn’t need Middle Eastern oil. For once,
he’s right.
on Jan 8, 2020.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Trump says the U.S. doesn’t need Middle Eastern oil. For once, he’s right.