Dec 21, 2021

Global energy politics have changed dramatically since the turn of the century, with massive implications for American foreign relations.

As the U.S. increased production capacity to eventually become a net exporter of oil, the country became less dependent on foreign imports from unstable parts of the world for its energy.

Yet these hard-won gains in energy independence are quickly being reversed by energy policies – like those put in place by Governor Newsom – that don’t just promote renewable energy but also restrict domestic production of oil and gas, despite the fact that these traditional fuels are still widely needed across the economy.

As Walter Russell Mead argues in the Wall Street Journal:

“The green agenda as currently conceived is an effective machine for undermining the economic and political power of the democratic world and boosting the influence of authoritarian powers.”

Mead notes that “by artificially depressing fossil-fuel production and investment faster than renewables and other fuels can fill the gap” green policies are effectively shifting trillions in energy revenues to adversaries overseas.

Not surprisingly, nations around the world are jumping at the opportunity to grab the market share that the U.S. is forfeiting.

The New York Times reports:

“In the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, government-owned energy companies are increasing oil and natural gas production as U.S. and European companies pare supply because of climate concerns … This massive shift could make America more dependent on OPEC, authoritarian leaders and politically unstable countries.”

In short, energy policies like those championed by Newsom are undercutting American power and enriching foreign adversaries. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

California can promote renewables while still producing the oil and gas it needs during the long transition to a new energy future.

If the Newsom climate agenda remained grounded in reality – accepting of the fact that our economies still depend heavily on oil and will for decades to come – California wouldn’t be cutting needed production and surrendering market share, money, and influence to adversaries and autocrats.

California is right to aggressively pursue renewable energy, but it must do so wisely. Shutting down in-state production of oil and gas doesn’t help California speed its transition away from these fuels – it only helps foreign producers make more money and consolidate more power.