CP2 Natural Gas Project Is Biden’s Next Big Climate Test

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On a marshy stretch of the Louisiana coastline, a little-known company wants to build a $10 billion facility that would allow the United States to export vast stores of liquefied natural gas.

Supporters of the project, known as CP2, say the export terminal would be a boon for the United States economy and help Europe decrease its reliance on gas imported from Russia. They also claim that because burning natural gas produces fewer planet-warming emissions than burning coal, the project is a good thing for the climate.

But a nationwide movement is working to stop the export terminal from ever being built.

Opponents, including major environmental groups, scientists and activists, say that CP2 would lock in decades of additional greenhouse gas emissions, the main driver of climate change. They add that the project would be harmful to the people who live in the area, as well as the fragile ecosystem that supports aquatic life in the Gulf of Mexico.

It will be up to the Biden administration to decide whether or not the project moves forward.

In the coming months, the Energy Department is expected to rule on whether the export terminal is in the “public interest,” a subjective determination that could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s natural gas industry.

The decision forces the Biden administration to confront a central contradiction within its energy policies: It wants nations to stop burning the fossil fuels that are dangerously heating the planet and has heralded a global agreement reached in Dubai earlier this month to transition away from fossil fuels. But at the same time, the United States is producing record amounts of crude oil, is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas and may approve an additional 17 export facilities, including CP2.

As President Biden seeks re-election, the politics are complicated.

He has made climate action central to his presidency and he needs young climate voters to turn out. But he is also trying to keep gas prices from rising, wants to supply European allies with a replacement for Russian gas and must fend off Republican accusations that he is hampering American energy development.

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CP2 Natural Gas Project Is Biden’s Next Big Climate Test

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