Study Behind Biden LNG Pause Was Published to ‘Achieve Policy Goals’: Report

The Biden administration’s decision to pause new liquefied natural gas export permits was based off a study that was deliberately published prior to peer review, and is part of a broader effort to “get rid of fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” according to the author of the study.

In the latest round of environmental activists racing to take credit for the Biden administration’s ill-guided LNG export ban, Dr. Robert Howarth, the controversial researcher whose work has been widely debunked by the scientific community, has now openly admitted that his research on LNG life cycle emissions was prematurely released with the ultimate goal of getting rid of natural gas entirely.

That message contradicts what the Biden administration has said in defending the policy, namely that U.S. LNG exports will continue to grow and the “pause” is merely designed to update public interest considerations.

An article published by Bloomberg this week, however, finds that Howarth’s research was a “clear factor” in the Biden administration’s decision to pause permit approvals for new LNG export terminals – but it also sheds a light on the clear politicization of his work. Howarth acknowledged that he decided to release his study on LNG’s life-cycle emissions – which erroneously claims LNG emits more greenhouse gases than coal, a finding contradicted by the Department of Energy’s own research – after a conversation with well-known activist Bill McKibben with an explicit agenda to impact policy and forgoing the rigorous scientific process.

From Bloomberg:

“He decided to release his LNG study before it underwent peer review after a conversation with environmentalist and journalist Bill McKibben, who wrote about it in the New Yorker. According to Howarth, McKibben told him that if he waited to make results from his paper public until after the peer review process, which could take until spring or summer, that would mean missing the opportunity to impact US policy decisions on LNG expected in the first part of this year. ‘I thought, well, okay, he’s right,’ said Howarth.”

To show just how unproven Howarth’s “conclusions” are, Bloomberg couldn’t even identify a single scientist willing to comment on the paper’s findings:

“Five scientists including Hamburg declined to comment on the paper’s findings because it hasn’t yet completed peer review.” (emphasis added)

Moreover, Howarth’s research categorically denies the groundbreaking role that natural gas has played, and continues to play, in slashing emissions:

“My belief is that we’ve documented that natural gas really is not a bridge fuel or really isn’t any better for the climate than coal… We need to get rid of all fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Let’s just move on and get rid of the gas system.” (emphasis added)

But the evidence shows that natural gas really does lower emissions. It’s a fact confirmed by independent bodies including the Energy Information Administration, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Energy Agency, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among others.

This begs the question, why is the Biden administration discounting science-based evidence in favor of environmental activists’ preferred policies?

After all, numerous members of their own political party, including Senators such as Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Fetterman (D-PA), Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), among other Democrats, have expressed opposition to the pause.

All roads lead to…the Rockefellers

This decision to play politics with science is no surprise: it’s a key page in the playbook deployed by activists like Howarth and McKibben, with all roads leading back to the Rockefellers who have claimed credit for the LNG export ban. Robert Bryce, host of the Power Hungry Podcast, recently highlighted this reality in detail on his substack.

McKibben has been a vocal supporter of anti-American energy initiatives for years. In addition to leading the activist movement behind the anti-LNG push, McKibben led an opposition movement against the Keystone XL pipeline, promoted climate litigation, divestment efforts, and has had a hand in just about every other activity intended to disrupt America’s energy production – nearly all of which are funded by the Rockefellers.

Similarly, the Rockefellers fund Food & Water Watch, an organization of which Howarth sits on the board and prides itself on being “the first U.S. national organization to call for a ban on fracking.”

Bottom Line: Dr. Howarth’s admission that he chose political objectives to guide his study should raise red flags about a policy that threatens U.S. energy development. This is yet another proof point that the anti-energy onslaught in the United States has been fueled not by science, but by politically motivated activists keen on taking down the American energy industry.



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