Publications: Notes at the Margin

Implications of a Climate Emergency Declaration: Uncertainty and Long-Term Chaos (July 25, 2022)


Many who write on energy, especially petroleum, have ridiculed President Biden, and his recent trip to the Middle East has increased the scorn being heaped upon him. Karen Elliott House, The Wall Street Journal’s former publisher, has had an especially great time mocking the president.


The laughter could end quickly, however. Indeed, the president could destroy or limit the growth of much of the oil industry by declaring a climate emergency. Should he exercise this power in the next few months, a substantial portion of the fossil fuel business might be unrecognizable by the time a new POTUS takes office on January 20, 2225. In fact, if he invokes his powers aggressively, the Democrats might just hold on to power thanks to the public’s immense dislike of oil firms.


Here, we discuss what might happen if the president declares a climate emergency. We suggest that such action, if implemented with sufficient Machiavellian intent, could cut Americans’ energy costs and reduce US emissions faster while consumers elsewhere in the world and the fossil-fuel-exporting nations suffer.


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