Rather than calling for investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, or a nationalization of the oil companies, politicians on both sides of the aisle call instead for increased domestic oil and gas production.
Because of this, Louisiana plays an outsized role in this senseless violence. The numerous liquified natural gas, or LNG, export terminals that have been constructed or are being constructed along our coast need markets to which they can export all of that methane, and military might protects markets in a petrocapitalist economy. All of the saber-rattling by Democrats and Republicans alike – such as the nihilistic calls for the establishment of a No-Fly Zone over Ukraine, a move that would lead certainly to world war between nuclear powers – ignores two fundamental realities: an economy based on the extraction of finite resources leads inexorably to conflict and war, and war causes the most suffering for those with the least power and fewest resources.
This conflict demonstrates clearly how capitalism is linked inextricably to imperialism and how violence against individual bodies and beloved communities is linked to violence against the air, land, and waters, whether that violence is perpetrated by Russian Federation forces, Western militaries, or fossil fuel and petrochemical companies.
Most recently the Biden Administration has promised a major ramp up of LNG exports to serve Europe, which puts even more pressure on Gulf Coast fossil infrastructure, particularly in parishes that have been most damaged by major storms, like Calcasieu and Cameron. New LNG terminals and exports from the US are directly in conflict with the federal goals named by the Biden Administration to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide equitable support to overburdened communities. Also, it is nothing like a solution for Europe, and in fact spells major new GHG emissions in Louisiana, even as the state’s Climate Task Force report outlines ways to ramp down emissions.
Adding insult to injury, some Louisiana legislators are even looking beyond the oil fields and terminals to our forests as new ways to supply combustible products for energy exports: bio fuels. Even as natural carbon sinks like our forests and wetlands remain vital to reducing climate impacts, new legislation proposed this year would define biofuels (made from Louisiana trees) as carbon neutral whether or not they are. Louisiana continues to be sold as a sacrifice zone for profits and fuels to burn in other countries that will only exacerbate the climate change that is ravaging our land. We deserve and we demand better.
Art by Olivia Love
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