US auctions off oil and gas drilling leases in Gulf of Mexico after climate talks
Biden administration launching auction of more than 80m acres for fossil fuel extraction that experts call ‘incredibly reckless’
Just four days after landmark climate talks in Scotland in which Joe Biden vowed the US will “lead by example” in tackling dangerous global heating, the president’s own administration is providing a jarring contradiction – the largest ever sale of oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
The US federal government is on Wednesday launching an auction of more than 80m acres of the gulf for fossil fuel extraction, a record sell-off that will lock in years, and potentially decades, of planet-heating emissions.
The enormous size of the lease sale – covering an area that is twice as large as Florida – is a blunt repudiation of Biden’s previous promise to shut down new drilling on public lands and waters. It has stunned environmentalists who argue the auction punctures the US’s shaky credibility on the climate crisis and will make it harder to avert catastrophic impacts from soaring global heating.