The White House is calling on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (called OPEC +) to increase crude oil production. Just days after the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), world leaders have been urged to take bold steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the dire consequences of the climate crisis. The administration’s request is a way to reduce rising petrol prices that could affect global recovery, still fragile due to the epidemic.
As oil production declines during the epidemic, oil prices fall negatively, causing OPEC + to reduce production by 10 million barrels per day – about 10 percent of world demand. Thanks to the promise of vaccines, rich countries have begun to reopen, and demand for oil has increased so by July, there were only 5.8 million barrels per day less than the pre-epidemic. Last month, OPEC + decided to increase production, adding 400,000 more barrels per month until production returned to 2019 standards. For the Biden administration, this is not enough.
“We are discussing with relevant OPEC + members the importance of a competitive market in pricing,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement seen on CNBC. “Competitive energy markets will ensure reliable and stable power supply and OPEC + will do more to recover.” The statement was directed to Saudi Arabia and OPEC + currently declined to comment publicly or privately. Asked about it, White House spokeswoman Jane Saki said, “It’s not for immediate response, necessarily.
This is meant to be a long-term engagement. The next meeting of OPEC + will be on September 1, and they may discuss the US request. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from transportation. It is the largest sector in terms of emissions, followed by power generation and industry, at 25 and 23 percent, respectively.
However, oil is not only used for petrol and diesel. Petroleum is also responsible for one-third of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel production. Per capita emissions from oil in the United States in 2019 were 7.1 tons. This is much higher than the global average which emits 1.6 tons of oil per capita. Annually, oil consumption is responsible for releasing more than 12 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2019.