Biden’s Climate Task Force Meets Amid Record High Gas Prices

Joe Biden

As gas prices remain near record highs, President Biden’s National Climate Task Force had its 12th meeting. The group was formed through an executive order from Biden in January 2021, and largely aimed to fight the use of fossil fuels.

The Task Force was ordered to “identify steps through which the United States can promote ending international financing of carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy” and “to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies from the budget request for Fiscal Year 2022 and thereafter.”

Additionally, the Task Force was ordered to “consider whether to adjust royalties associated with coal, oil, and gas resources extracted from public lands and offshore waters, or take other appropriate action, to account for corresponding climate costs.”

While the Biden administration has so far failed to end all federal subsidies for fossil fuels, Biden’s Task Force was successful in dramatically increasing the royalty rate on oil and natural gas drilling leases for the first time in history.

“The royalty rate for new leases will increase to 18.75% from 12.5%. That’s a 50% jump and marks the first increase to royalties for the federal government since they were imposed in the 1920s,” NPR reported in April.

Biden – who promised during his presidential campaign that he would “end fossil fuel” – has repeatedly blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for the record high gas prices.

“Let’s remember how we got here: Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin invaded Ukraine with 100,000 forces,” Biden said on Wednesday. “Just look at the facts: Since the start of the war in Ukraine this year, gas prices have risen by almost $2.00 a gallon in the United States, and sometimes more, around the world.”

It should be noted that gas prices have increased just over a dollar since Russia invaded Ukraine – not $2. Additionally, gas prices began rising shortly after Biden took office, driven by his anti-fossil fuel policy. From January 20, 2021, to February 24, 2022, gas prices soared from $2.40 per gallon to $3.54 per gallon, an increase of nearly 50 percent that occurred before Russia invaded Ukraine.