Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was promptly fact-checked on Tuesday after spewing a “complete falsehood” about greenhouse gas emissions.
At a House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on the Biden administration’s “mismanagement of the federal onshore oil and gas program,” Ocasio-Cortez claimed that nearly one-quarter of U.S. “carbon pollution” comes from oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
“As it stands, nearly a quarter of the United States’ current carbon pollution comes from fossil fuel production on federal lands and waters,” she claimed.
But according to Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, the New York Democrat is wrong.
Not only did Sgamma open her testimony by calling out Ocasio-Cortez for her “complete falsehood,” but with data in hand, Sgamma corrected the record.
“I just want to start off by correcting something the ranking member said in her opening statement. She claimed that oil and gas production on federal lands is responsible for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions,” Sgamma said.
“That’s based on a misreading of a USGS study of greenhouse gas emissions,” she explained. “And if you actually look at the numbers, production on federal lands and waters accounts for 0.6% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — not ‘nearly a quarter.’ Even the Interior Department stopped using that number after I simply pointed out the numbers from the USGS report.”
Oversight Hearing | Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommitteewww.youtube.com
Democrats often claim that a sizable chunk of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from drilling on federal lands to justify their push to end drilling on federal lands.
But it’s simply not true. What is true, according to the USGS report cited at the hearing, is that “emissions from fossil fuels produced on Federal lands represent, on average, 23.7% of national emissions.” But that doesn’t mean drilling on federal lands is responsible for those emissions.
In fact, as Sgamma explained, the extraction of fossil fuels on federal lands accounts for a minuscule amount — 0.6% — of greenhouse gas emissions.
So where does the difference come from? As the Western Energy Alliance explains, the “vast majority” of emissions related to fossil fuels extracted from federal lands “comes from the end-use combustion of fossil fuels, not from the extraction.”
It’s the entire life cycle of those fuels, then — from extraction to combustion at their end point — that accounts for anything near what Ocasio-Cortez claimed.
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