Drilling Down on Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

Drilling Down on Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

The United States has pledged to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, but Russia’s war in Ukraine set off a bonanza for liquefied natural gas, or LNG. Today, we look at how energy companies and the Biden administration are backsliding on promises to move away from oil and gas.  

In response to Europe’s need for natural gas as it lost access to Russian supplies, America’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, Cheniere Energy, is expanding its facilities in Corpus Christi, Texas. Reporter Elizabeth Shogren talks with local residents who are organizing to fight the expansion and discovers that many LNG contracts are not with Europe after all.  

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised to end drilling for oil and gas on federal land and offshore waters. And on his first day in office, he froze new drilling leases. But the administration backtracked and instead has increased the number of leases it’s offering to oil and gas companies. Host Al Letson gets a report card on Biden’s climate policy from two experts who are tracking his environmental record.

For many years, prominent Republicans disputed the existence of climate change and fought against environmental policies. That didn’t sit well with a young conservative college student, who in 2016 tried to put climate change on his party’s agenda. Reveal reporter Jonathan Jones talks with the founder of the American Conservation Coalition and tracks how successful the group has been in getting Republican legislators to address climate change. 

Republicans and Democrats may struggle to find common ground on addressing climate change. But for a tiny, predominantly Indigenous community in Alaska, it’s already too late. Reporter Emily Schwing went to Chevak to report on the damage from a recent storm and soon discovered a problem with the federal government’s response. Many residents don’t speak English as their first language, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is required to translate disaster relief notices into local languages. But FEMA bungled the translations, delaying much-needed aid and sowing distrust. 

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