Smothering Gas Exports: President Sides with Environmentalists Over Environment

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Hubwonk Smothering Gas Exports: President Sides with Environmentalists Over Environment

[00:00:00] Joe Selvaggi: This is Hubwonk. I’m Joe Selvaggi. Welcome to Hubwonk, a podcast of Pioneer Institute, a think tank in Boston. On January 26th, President Biden issued an executive order announcing plans to pause all approvals of liquefied natural gas exports, citing the administration’s goals of lowering energy costs, creating jobs, and safeguarding health as its intended objectives.

[00:00:25] The statement begins by asserting that, quote, in every corner of the country and the world, people are suffering the devastating toll of climate change, unquote, as the reason the U. S. must export less natural gas, lest it contribute to a crisis that, quote, jeopardizes our planet and our people, unquote.

[00:00:42] But policy analysts and concerned citizens alike must now examine the question whether a reduction in future natural gas exports. will actually equate to less global greenhouse gas production. Beyond the long term effects on the climate, what will be the more immediate effects on the U. S. economy, its growth in energy costs, and on our international trading partners, who have begun to rely on U.S. LNG exports? And as the November presidential election approaches, how will American voters respond to such executive actions if they perceive a negligible effect on climate, but a substantial cost to the U. S. economy and those of its allies? My guest today is energy and environmental policy expert and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Dr.

[00:01:26] Benjamin Zeiger. Dr. Zeiger has written extensively on U. S. energy and has testified before Congress on matters relating to the effects of energy laws and regulations on production and the environment. He will share with us his views on the merits of the President’s decision to pause approval of future LNG exports, including its likely effects on our economy, and offer his insights.

[00:01:47] On whether politics rather than science may be the primary driver of this executive order. When I return, I’ll be joined by AEI Senior Fellow, Dr. Benjamin Zeicher. Okay, we’re back. This is Hubwonk. I’m Joe Selvaggi, and I’m now pleased to be joined by Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Dr.

[00:02:06] Benjamin Zeicher. Welcome to Hubwonk, Ben. Thank you very much. All right, this is your first time as a guest on Hubwonk, on our podcast. I wanted to have you on the podcast because you write extensively for AEI on matters concerning energy and environmental policy. You’ve also testified before Congress and have written about the President’s recent memo.

[00:02:25] on the intended pause in approval of liquid, liquefied natural gas exports. Let’s start at the beginning for our listeners who know nothing about this memo, this executive order. on January 26th, what did the president announce in his statement to pause LNG export approvals?

[00:02:40] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: what he announced was that moving forward, new applications for export facilities. For the export of liquefied natural gas will be subject to a climate change test in addition to the public interest test that is spelled out in the Natural Gas Act of 1938, which under which, the Energy Department, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, have responsibilities for approving proposed LNG export facilities.

[00:03:10] And the entire, justification in President Biden’s recent, announced pause was because of the supposed climate crisis. And the effect of LNG exports on climate phenomenon moving forward. That was the rationale. 

[00:03:29] Joe Selvaggi: So I want to quote from the memo. again, the president may, live in a different world than I do, but I’m going to read it for our listeners and see which, if they live in the president’s world.

[00:03:37] This is the first. Paragraph of his, executive order, quote, In every corner of the country and the world, people are suffering the devastating toll of climate change. Historic hurricanes and floods wiping out homes, businesses, and houses of worship. Wildfires destroying whole neighborhoods and forcing families to leave their communities behind.

[00:03:53] Record temperatures affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, especially the most vulnerable, unquote. So clearly the president thinks, the world is, already being devastated by climate change. So I want to, talk about, The implications of this pause on exporting LNG both to the economy and to the climate.

[00:04:11] So let’s start with helping our listeners understand what are our current, export, capabilities. We know this to be a recent phenomenon. We discovered fracking, we discovered our, an abundance of natural gas. what does this pause limit as far as we’re concerned? we, we actually have surplus of natural gas.

[00:04:28] How much could we be exporting, is the question. 

[00:04:30] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: in the immediate term, there’s no effect at all. Existing facilities will continue to export liquefied natural gas as they have the past several years. LNG exports are now,I can’t remember the number, but it’s something like, 9 percent or so.

[00:04:51] Of U. S. natural gas production, and that is expected to rise, in the absence of this executive order, from, Mr. Biden. the issue, is, what if, regardless of what you believe about, whether or not there’s a crisis caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses.

[00:05:10] Just as an aside, there’s not much evidence of that. But regardless of what you believe, the issue is whether or not U. S. natural gas, exports. Would have much of an effect by the year 2100? And the answer is no, if you shut down not just, the exports of natural gas from future projects that are now being paused, but all U.

[00:05:31] S. natural gas exports, and if you assume there would be no increase In, no substitution of foreign natural gas or foreign coal, et cetera, in place of U. S. natural gas exports. The, using the Environmental Production Agency Climate Model, the effect on global temperatures in the year 2100, under mainstream assumptions would be something like 8 one thousandths of one degree, which obviously would not be detectable.

[00:05:59] Joe Selvaggi: So what you’re talking about, 8 one thousandths of one degree, if all the LNG production We’re paused now,

[00:06:05] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: if all, us LNG exports were shut down permanently. 

[00:06:09] Joe Selvaggi: Yes. Yes. okay. So we’re talking about eight tens. Eight, eight. One. Thousandths of a degree. One degree, in 2100, which is.

[00:06:17] A fairly far distant off. we know that, for a time we were concerned about our energy, the need to import more energy than we produce. Now we’re a net exporter, is that right? and as a net exporter or a producer, what’s the effect of, let’s say, the natural gas boom on the U.

[00:06:34] S. economy? In other words, instead of having to ship it in the form of oil from, say, Saudi Arabia or wherever, we All this natural gas being domestically produced. What is the, let’s just start with the effect on the national economy. Do you have any sense of how big our industry is? 

[00:06:49] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: what people, I think, need to understand is that fossil fuels are one important form of national wealth.

[00:06:55] And to the extent that production of it increases efficiently, then national wealth increases, and that wealth is shared across the economy among, producers and workers and others as an outcome of competitive market forces. so with the technological revolution in natural gas and oil production over the last 20 or so years, national wealth is greater.

[00:07:21] GDP is higher. GDP growth is greater. There’s more employment. the, virtually everyone is better off as a result of tax revenues go up for local and state governments. Virtually everyone is better off as a result of this increase in national wealth. And the anti fossil fuel ideological campaign Has effects that are just the reverse of that.

[00:07:44] And that is very unfortunate. 

[00:07:46] Joe Selvaggi: So let’s put a finer point on this. you’re saying that I think that’s a very good way to look at this. if we were sitting on a mountain of gold, it would be national wealth. If we’re sitting on a mountain of natural gas, it also is natural wealth.

[00:07:55] We, we think about in terms of who’s making money and I don’t know what. What images are conjured in our listeners minds? They might be thinking of wealthy oil barons. But instead, we’re talking about people who are doing the extraction of the natural gas. these are in the heartland of the U.

[00:08:08] S. Lots of high paying jobs. where does all this wealth lie? I’m just talking about the production. And then we can even talk about, of course, Cheap or cheaper gas is an input to everything else, meaning, everything we consume is produced with the help of energy, which 

[00:08:23] The boom 

[00:08:24] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: in natural gas production has taken place in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, New Mexico to a degree, North Dakota, and other places and when to say that Oil barons, whatever that means, are getting rich is this, is merely to say that investors in these technologies and investors in these exploration and production activities get rewarded by market forces, as do workers in the oil patch or oil fields, as do state and local governments, as do others who contribute to this increase in national wealth as driven by competitive market forces.

[00:09:09] And so it’s not only your oil barons who profit and they’re, the fact that they profit is perfectly justified. They’re making investments and they’re taking risks and,and so the market forces are rewarding them for that just as they reward workers and others involved in this increased production of national wealth.

[00:09:28] Joe Selvaggi: Indeed, and of course we’re talking about the supply, the reward to supply. You produce something people want and you get rewarded financially, but all of us are also consumers. So everything we consume is really driven by, by, energy prices, whether it’s, avocados that we eat or technology we use, we’re really all the beneficiaries of cheaper energy.

[00:09:47] Is it fair to say that Okay. With cheaper energy, everything we consume, everything we buy, everything we use is fundamentally going to be cheaper with less expensive energy inputs. 

[00:09:56] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: Yeah, many things will be cheaper, not everything, but many things, perhaps even most things, meaning most consumer personal consumption expenditures will go down as a result of cheaper energy to the extent that energy is an input in the production of a vast array of Goods and services, some more than others, and that’s certainly true, yes.

[00:10:19] Consumers benefit, sure. 

[00:10:21] Joe Selvaggi: And if we were to take the extreme and say, okay, look, we’re going to have a war on natural gas. We don’t think it, though it’s better than coal, it’s still not wind and, and solar. so we’re going to try to ban that. What would you think would be the effect of having less or minimizing or trying to even go after domestic and natural gas production.

[00:10:38] what would we look like? What would the world look like or the U. S. look like if we had less natural gas production? Yeah, 

[00:10:44] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: everything would be, many things would be more expensive. Power production would be much more expensive and much less reliable. What I think a lot of people don’t understand is that an electric power system, primarily depending on wind and solar output, cannot work simply as a matter of electrical engineering without massive backup generators, powered by typically natural gas.

[00:11:14] in the form of natural gas turbines, it simply can’t work. Simply, again, simply as a matter of electrical engineering. The economy will be poorer, wages will be lower, the economy will be smaller, GDP growth will be smaller. It would be, not a very not as wealthy a society as otherwise would be the case.

[00:11:34] With less ability to invest in environmental protection and all the rest. 

[00:11:37] Joe Selvaggi: What you’re saying is that we’d all be poor. The products we buy might be more expensive. So that would be also bad. our GDP collectively would be less and we don’t have to get into this, but of course, our grid, our, electrical system that if we plug in our cars, it’s going to rely on electricity or we plug in our guests, our electric stove, it’s going to be.

[00:11:56] on the electric grid, if we take away natural gas, it becomes fundamentally more fragile, because then we’re relying on the whims of 

[00:12:02] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: The point you’re making, actually, let me just offer one or two sentences on that. The Environmental Protection Agency has promulgated proposed rules on both what the power sector should look like and what the ground transportation system should look like.

[00:12:18] system should look like. They’re trying to force a shift toward more, much more wind and solar power generation and a shift toward much more, many more electric vehicles and many fewer, conventional internal combustion engine driven vehicles. EPA’s right hand doesn’t know what its left hand is doing and the two proposed sets of rules are not compatible.

[00:12:46] And I think a

[00:12:50] The expansion of wind and solar power, as envisioned in the EPA proposed regulations, is not consistent with the expansion of electric vehicle fleet, as envisioned in other EPA proposed rules, and at some point, there’s going to have to be a reckoning between those two sets of parameters. 

[00:13:14] Joe Selvaggi: Okay. We’ve talked about what happens domestically, but really this conversation should be about the exports and what happens to that surplus natural gas that we choose to sell on the international market.

[00:13:24] Right now, who are the current consumers? You said it’s a nine percent of the natural gas that we produce is exported. Where does that go? 

[00:13:31] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: most, more than half of it goes to Europe as a replacement for Russian natural gas. It was about half of natural gas used by the European Union, only three years ago.

[00:13:46] It is now down to less than a quarter and, U. S. natural, liquefied natural gas exports, heavily go to Europe. A very substantial amount also goes to Asia, Japan and Korea and China and others. And a small amount goes to South America, in particular Brazil and, and Argentina. But for the most part.

[00:14:08] U. S. natural gas exports go to Europe and to Asia, Europe in particular. 

[00:14:16] Joe Selvaggi: And our careful listeners will say, okay, why does a shift away from Russian gas? And towards U. S. natural gas happened three years ago, it seems like a substitution, one for one, where Russia is exporting less and we’re exporting more to Right, 

[00:14:30] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: there was the Ukraine invasion, there was the shutdown of, Nord Stream, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, and all the geo-political events that took place.

[00:14:41] in the, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and, the Europeans in particular, recognized that Russian gas is unreliable or had become even more unreliable than was previously the case. And, and I think, that generated a shift, toward, the use of U. S., natural gas, particularly after Nord Stream 1 was shut down.

[00:15:07] Joe Selvaggi: again, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but for those, energy users in Western Europe who, who were at the mercy, perhaps, of Russian natural gas, If the U. S. weren’t there to substitute their natural gas for Russia, if we, in a sense, had banned exports entirely long ago, really, Europe would face either going dark or cold, or, submitting to the whim of Russia.

[00:15:32] Is that saying too much? 

[00:15:35] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: No, I don’t think so. Prices would be higher. There would be a shift toward other suppliers of natural gas, the Australians. Qatar, perhaps others as well, but, there might be a return toward coal fire generation, and some people would be going coal, yes, that is certainly true.

[00:15:54] Europe would be, without US LNG exports, the European energy situation would be a good deal less favorable. The problem, of course, is that instead of now facing unreliability from Russia, The Europeans now are facing increasing unreliability from America because of this executive order issued by Mr.

[00:16:20] Biden. 

[00:16:22] Joe Selvaggi: So we’ve talked about, of course, the effect that domestically on limiting, if we were to limit natural gas production here, if we limit exports, which we are doing, we talked about all the negative You know, follow on of having limits on supply here in the U. S., if we were to, or as we are doing now, if we’re limiting a supply to below what the demand is, which by its nature we are, what does that say for prices, globally, and ultimately, let’s say, global inflation, meaning if the input, if energy is an input to everything we buy, all every European product, every global product we buy, doesn’t essentially the world become a little more expensive, both global.

[00:16:58] For international consumers, but also for American consumers who buy those products. 

[00:17:02] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: Yeah, I’d be a little careful about that. rise in energy prices, not really inflation. that, that gets a bit technical, but it’s really not. cause there would be exchange rate effects and other impacts that get complicated and they’re difficult to trace through.

[00:17:16] It’s certainly the case though, that energy would become more expensive. the economies would become smaller. and all of the adverse effects that we could expect from more expensive energy will, will be observed or would be observed if, in the absence of this Biden executive order. The Biden executive order has increased uncertainty, has made investment riskier.

[00:17:40] And it will have long term effects which are not salutary. 

[00:17:44] Joe Selvaggi: I want to, again, pivot then back to the U. S., and forgive me if I’m pointing this a little too hard because, frankly , I’m trying to understand. There are those who say this is a terrific idea for U. S. consumers of natural gas, which is to say, if we’re currently sending away 9%, and you mentioned earlier in the show, we’re on track to export even more.

[00:18:02] If we say, look, enough is enough, we’re going to keep our natural gas, we’re going to keep it here. Wouldn’t the rules of supply and demand simply say if we’ve got more natural gas for ourselves rather than export it. Doesn’t that, wouldn’t that mean that surplus would mean lower prices for the gas we produce?

[00:18:16] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: Yeah, that, that’s a commonly held fallacy. you might get a decrease in U. S. natural gas prices in the immediate term. I even doubt that. But over time, you’re going to get an increase in U. S. natural gas prices because investment incentives will be weakened. You’ll get less investment in the discovery and production of natural gas.

[00:18:39] Over time, you’ll get less production, therefore reduction in supply conditions and higher prices. It’s simply that. There are no free lunches. That is simply, the case. It’s a further matter that for technical reasons, that I’m not going to bore the audience with. Because natural gas or fossil fuels generally are not like cut flowers that have to be consumed today.

[00:19:03] Fossil fuels can be consumed either today or next year, and if the market thinks the prices are going to rise next year, they’re going to rise now. and so I think that even the immediate effect might not be much of a decrease at all in, in natural gas prices. look at what happened in 2015.

[00:19:23] We ended the export ban on crude oil. And crude oil prices fell. They didn’t, our crude oil prices fell internationally. They didn’t go up as a result, or domestically because of the, renewed export of U. S. crude 

[00:19:40] Joe Selvaggi: oil. What explains that phenomena? Why is it that let’s say having, An unconstrained demand, meaning if the world can compete for our oil and gas, why doesn’t that mean in the long run prices go down?

[00:19:51] Is it because it’s such a profound disincentive for additional production exploration? Is it of that nature? 

[00:19:59] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: Well, the efforts by regulation or by statute to limit the export of natural gas will reduce investment incentives. It’s just that simple. And the reduction in investment incentives, riskier investment, and all the rest, will reduce production over time in the medium and long terms, and raise prices.

[00:20:24] Other factors held constant. It just really is that simple. And, so people hoping for a great boon for natural gas consumers in the U.S. as a, as an outcome of natural gas export then, I think are not being very realistic. 

[00:20:43] Joe Selvaggi: Let’s turn back then to the whole pretext of this whole executive order, which is to protect the climate.

[00:20:49] we’ve talked about it earlier in the show, but let’s say, okay, if we’re going to take nothing else away from this conversation by limiting exports, the knock on effect is Less natural gas will be consumed. Less research to produce more natural gas will be produced so we’re going to have less natural gas in theory if we make it harder for people to consume it.

[00:21:09] What do you think, given that the climate is the primary concern here and we’re putting the needs of the climate ahead of perhaps obvious financial or international concerns, what do you think the effect of reducing natural gas export and thereby consumption due for the climate. And again, let me say, baked into my question is the assumption that natural gas is a terrific transitional fuel from, let’s say, dirty coal towards, let’s say, more efficient, whatever, unicorn farm we’re going to harness.

[00:21:41] let’s say it’s the best of all fossil fuel alternatives. What do you think the effect will be for having less natural gas? 

[00:21:50] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: You wind up with less energy be consumed in total. Within the energy sector, you get more coal use. Which emits roughly double, per BTU, the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by natural gas consumption.

[00:22:06] I don’t particularly think that’s very important, but that is the reality. You get foreign natural gas substituting for U. S. natural gas. There’s really nothing positive to say about this. It’s a pure political sop by the Biden administration to the environmental left, and they’re not really trying to hide that reality at all.

[00:22:27] And, the climate justification, I think, is really little more than a fig leaf. 

[00:22:35] Joe Selvaggi: for those listeners who are, perhaps justifiably concerned about the climate, you’re saying that largely because, A, LNG doesn’t have much effect on climate in general, B, the substitution of coal for, the LNG that’s not produced, May, ironically, harm the climate more than LNG would have, and also, the effect, if any, is so negligible, eight one thousandths of a degree over, between now and 2100, that it’s a meaningless effort.

[00:23:03] So let’s stipulate all that. If it is the fact, again, in this conversation, we said it’s going to have a detrimental effect on the U. S. economy, meaning those jobs that could have been produced by LNG producers and exporters. the cost of inputs of energy, if energy becomes more expensive, it’ll slow down the economy, thereby jobs and all.

[00:23:20] We talked about, it’s the heartland, the Texas and the Pennsylvania’s and the Ohio’s that are going to be hurt. and it has, we’ve agreed there’s very little effect on climate and it may have a detrimental effect on our allies overseas who may rely on U. S. natural gas, as opposed to, some of our unsavory, global participants like, Russia.

[00:23:38] Why would the president choose to do this action, and frankly, in the middle of a presidential election year, if it’s so patently detrimental to both the economy, the, the global stage and the climate? Well, 

[00:23:54] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: again, as I said, this is a SOP to the environmental left, and for reasons that I do not understand, the administration seems to believe that the environmental left is a sufficiently important component of its political coalition, that it needs to do this work.

[00:24:19] Keep them inside the tent. We can, I’m not a political expert, we can agree or disagree with that perception, but that seems to be what’s going on. the administration in the various statements it issued a couple weeks ago on this executive order, made no attempt to hide the fact that this is an appeal to the environmental left.

[00:24:41] Them, their applause for this, this, this executive order, et cetera. there’s nothing else to be said in favor of it. And, and, I cannot, I don’t understand what they’re thinking, but that seems to be what it is that they believe the environmental, again, the environmental left is an important part of the coalition and they need to do this to keep them, keep their support 

[00:25:04] Joe Selvaggi: firm.

[00:25:05] I want to quote from the memo one more time from the last paragraph. I think it validates your position on why the president may have done this. I’ll quote, quote. We will heed the calls of young people and frontline communities who are using their voices to demand action from those of us who With the power to act, and as America has always done, we will turn crisis into opportunity, creating clean energy jobs, improving quality of life, and building a more hopeful future for our children.

[00:25:33] Do you see anything in this action that creates clean energy jobs, improves quality of life, or builds a more hopeful future? Meaning, if our economy is hobbled by this, how is it going to improve the quality of life? Do you have a sense? 

[00:25:48] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: There is no positive dimension to any of this. None.

[00:25:53] Joe Selvaggi: You’re on the front lines of these debates, both in the intellectual space, but also what you testify in front of Congress.

[00:25:58] It seems to me as a lay person, as an onlooker, if the climate is this existential crisis that all many claim it is, do you hear, interest in, in, let’s say alternatives like nuclear? Which, again, I’ve talked about many times on this show. I spent a fair amount of time in the Navy where they had nuclear power plants on, Tin cans in the middle of an ocean run by 19 year olds and we’ve been doing that for 50 years, without incident. What is it, why aren’t we having memos about doubling down on nuclear instead of talking about attacking relatively clean, safe, natural gas? 

[00:26:30] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: I think I may differ from you a bit on this.

[00:26:33] I don’t believe new nuclear power stations are economic or competitive with natural gas at, even at five dollars per million BTUs, which is roughly a thousand cubic feet, and prices now are, I think, under three dollars per, for gas under, for a thousand cubic feet or a million BTUs. so I don’t think nuclear power is competitive, frankly.

[00:26:57] there are other 

[00:26:59] artificial constraints on the expansion of nuclear power, the wind production tax credit. For complicated reasons that I won’t, I don’t think we have time to get into, which makes it much more difficult to operate nuclear power plants, because the wind producers have incentives to lower their prices to very low levels knowing that the federal government through the production tax credit will make them whole.

[00:27:23] and there are a lot of artificial constraints like that, but I don’t really believe that nuclear power is competitive. Under current market conditions, natural gas power production clearly is competitive and I think that an effort to substitute wind and solar power in place of natural gas, electricity production is seriously misguided.

[00:27:45] Joe Selvaggi: Indeed. I think we may be talking past each other. I think if I take off my, economist hat and put on my, passionate climate concern hat and say if the only thing you worry about is the climate, and you’re convinced that fossil fuels are the reason the climate is warming, and the warming of the climate is an existential threat to mankind, nuclear makes sense, right? It’s not financial sense but it 

[00:28:08] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: makes Under that set of assumptions, that is certainly true. whether I believe those assumptions is, dubious, but we can get into that some other time, 

[00:28:16] Joe Selvaggi: Fair enough. I want to bring our, all of our listeners along and say, okay, look it strikes me though, then again, if you have, you essentially have a war on natural gas, and you are trying to steer the economy towards electrification and reliance on renewables, wind and air wind and, solar.

[00:28:33] It seems to me more, less concerned about the environment. Again, if you had concern about the environment, nuclear might make sense, but more anti growth, anti sort of human activity. It seems like it is naturally, like a wet blanket on potential growth, both here and abroad. Do you, am I going too far with that sort of observation?

[00:28:51] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: No the anti fossil fuel ideology is fundamentally anti human. If you really believe that fossil fuels are evil, then the things that increase the demand for fossil fuels also are evil. Among those are investments in human capital, education, training, et cetera, as people become more highly educated.

[00:29:12] As they become more skilled, they demand more fossil fuels. It’s that simple. And so if you really don’t like fossil fuels, then you don’t like education and training and health care and all the things that lead people to demand more fossil fuels. I’ve been talking about this for years. For a short discussion that’s, you might look at one of my old essays, Springtime for the Rockefellers.

[00:29:34] Just Google my name and Springtime for the Rockefellers and you’ll, it’ll come up. Yeah, the anti fossil fuel ideology is fundamentally anti human and that is something I think we should not forget. 

[00:29:47] Joe Selvaggi: Indeed. you’ve peaked our listeners’ interest in your work. they may disagree or, want to, engage with your arguments.

[00:29:53] Where can our listeners read more about your work, Ben? 

[00:29:57] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: all they have to do really is go to aei American Enterprise Institute, uh, click on scholars and then navigate to my name and, if they’re having trouble sleeping, this stuff is ideal. 

[00:30:12] Joe Selvaggi: Your, uh, soporific missives are, are useful for those of us who have trouble sleeping.

[00:30:16] Now, I actually find it quite interesting, and of course this is a lively debate, and I think, very rarely do we see such a naked attempt to essentially hobble, the American economy, really for political reasons. it’s, in my estimation, a, a real tragedy, and it’s really not being covered very much by our international and local national press.

[00:30:36] Oh, I want to thank you for your time. This is your first visit. You’ve been a terrific guest. Thank you for joining me today on Hubwonk, Ben. Thank you 

[00:30:43] Dr. Benjamin Zycher: very much indeed. Appreciate it. 

[00:30:46] Joe Selvaggi: This has been another episode of Hubwonk. If you enjoyed today’s show, there are several ways to support Hubwonk and Pioneer Institute.

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Joe Selvaggi interviews Dr. Benjamin Zycher, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, on the impact of President Biden’s executive order to halt liquefied natural gas export approvals. They explore potential economic impacts, the response from trading partners, and the negligible effect on climate.


Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on energy and environmental policy. Before joining AEI, Zycher conducted a broad research program in his public policy research firm and was an intelligence community associate of the Office of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State. He is a former senior economist at the RAND Corporation, a former adjunct professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the California State University Channel Islands, and is a former senior economist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. He served as a senior staff economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, with responsibility for energy and environmental policy issues. Zycher has a doctorate in economics from UCLA, a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCLA.