March 02, 2020

Leaving it in the ground: Examining recent proposals to ban fossil fuel extraction on America’s public lands

Dustin Charles Elliott

Fossil fuel extraction on federal public lands is responsible for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States. With an eye toward comprehensive climate policy proposals, several 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have pledged to ban new fossil fuel leases offshore and on federal lands. Combined with similar proposals to curtail or ban fracking, rising calls to “leave it in the ground” have sent shockwaves through the energy sector. This article outlines potential implications a ban on fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters, highlighting potential short- and long-term impacts—including implications for renewable energy development.

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