The United States regained the dubious distinction as the world’s top exporter of liquified methane gas (LNG) in the first half of 2023, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced Tuesday.
It shows no signs of slowing down. U.S. exports first exceeded all other countries’ in 2022, but fell below Australia and Qatar following the explosion at Freeport LNG, which took a substantial fraction of U.S. export capacity offline for nine months.
Also Tuesday, a new report from Oil Change International projected that U.S. export capacity expansion plans will account for more than a third of the world’s planned expansion, by emissions, of global oil and gas production by mid-century.
This accelerated buildout of methane gas exports directly contravenes conclusions by the International Energy Agency, which has said staying within a 1.5°C limit requires no new exploration and development of oil and gas; and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that carbon dioxide emissions solely from existing fossil fuel infrastructure will push the world past 1.5°C and Paris Agreement targets.
“It’s simple: when you are in a hole, the first step is to stop digging,” Oil Change International global policy lead Romain Ioualalen told The Guardian. “The climate crisis is global in nature, but is atrociously unjust. A handful of the world’s richest nations are risking our future by willingly ignoring the calls to rapidly phase out fossil fuels.”