The House passed a bill that would restrict sales of the country’s reserve oil to entities with Chinese ownership or influence.
Meanwhile, a new analysis has found ExxonMobil had fairly accurate predictions on climate change in the past decades, and federal agencies are saying that last year was either the the fifth or sixth-hottest year on record.
SPR-China bill passes House in bipartisan vote
The House on Thursday passed a bill aimed at restricting sales from the country’s oil reserves to China.
The legislation bars sales of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to entities under the control, ownership or influence of the Chinese Communist Party, unless that oil will not be exported to China.
The bill passed in a bipartisan 331-97 vote. All 97 “no” votes came from Democrats, but 113 Democrats joined all Republicans who voted in passing the measure.
The bill’s prospects are uncertain in a Democrat-controlled Senate, but it still represents a significant window into Republican energy and foreign policy priorities for the new Congress.
Expert skepticism: Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, has expressed skepticism about the approach in the legislation that passed on Thursday, recently telling The Hill that it sounded “pretty silly.”
While some of the oil that was sold from the strategic reserve ended up in other countries, including China, Kloza said the impact on the U.S. economy would have been the same regardless of where those barrels went.
Some of the companies that were able to buy oil from the release are U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies.
What each side has to say:
- Republicans argued the Biden administration’s move to sell off oil from the nation’s reserves last year was political — and said that if it benefitted China, it was harmful to the nation’s security.
- “America’s SPR is meant for true energy supply disruptions, like those caused by hurricanes and natural disasters, not to help China,” said House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), according to a copy of her floor remarks.
- Meanwhile, Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), the energy panel’s top Democrat, said he also opposes exporting U.S. oil to China, but said the GOP measure did not adequately address that issue.
- “If Republicans were serious about addressing this issue, they would have brought forward a bill that banned all oil exports to China,” read a copy of his remarks.
Exxon predicted current climate change in ’70s: study
Scientists at oil giant ExxonMobil accurately forecast present-day climate change going back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, a new study has found.
The majority of the company’s internal climate predictions prepared during that period — between 63 and 83 percent of Exxon’s files — have closely matched actual global warming, according to the paper published Thursday in Environmental Research Letters.
- The findings by Harvard and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are “the nail-in-the-coffin of ExxonMobil’s claims that it has been falsely accused of climate malfeasance,” lead author Geoffrey Supran, a research associate at Harvard, asserted in a statement.
- “We find that most of their projections accurately forecast warming consistent with subsequent observations,” the report states. “Their projections were also consistent with, and at least as skillful as, those of independent academic and government models.”
The research assesses 32 internal documents produced by ExxonMobil scientists between 1977 and 2002, as well as 72 peer-reviewed scientific publications authored or co-authored by ExxonMobil scientists between 1982 and 2014.
In the 1990s, the oil giant turned away from funding climate science and pivoted to a campaign raising broad-based doubt over the quality of those findings.
In a statement to The Hill, Exxon spokesperson Todd Spitler sought to cast the report as part of a broader ginned-up campaign by the companies’ critics to portray “well intended, internal policy debates as an attempted company disinformation campaign.”
Read more about the new analysis here, from The Hill’s Saul Elbein.
2022 IS FIFTH OR SIXTH WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD: NASA AND NOAA
The average surface temperature for Earth during 2022 tied with 2015 as the fifth-warmest on record, NASA found in an analysis.
- The agency said in a press release on Thursday that global temperatures during last year were 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above its average for its baseline period of 1951 to 1980.
- The past nine years have also been the warmest since modern recording of temperatures began in 1880.
“This warming trend is alarming,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in the release. “Our warming climate is already making a mark: Forest fires are intensifying; hurricanes are getting stronger; droughts are wreaking havoc and sea levels are rising.”
Earth in 2022 was about 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average temperature of the late 1800s.
Meanwhile, a separate independent analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the global average temperature during 2022 was the sixth-highest since 1880.
- NOAA uses most of the same data as NASA but uses a baseline period of 1901 to 2000 and a different methodology.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Nevada outlines framework for Colorado River cuts as states show their cards (The Nevada Independent)
- How the Hummer is fueling a backlash against electric trucks (E&E News)
- To get off fossil fuels, America is going to need a lot more electricians (Grist)
- How India Became the Most Important Country in the Climate Fight (Time)
MORE FROM THE HILL
🐟 Lighter click: Combining nature and pop culture
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
strategic petroleum reserve