FIRST ON FOX: Global delegates heading to the annual United Nations climate change summit are circulating a letter calling for the U.S. and other Western nations to immediately ban new natural gas infrastructure projects.
According to the letter obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is among the lead architects of the effort in addition to Lisa Badum, a member of the German Parliament who is leading her nation's delegation at the summit, and Canadian Sen. Rosa Galvez. Markey, Badum and Galvez sent the letter to other U.S. lawmakers and global representatives ahead of the COP28 climate conference, which kicks off Thursday in Dubai.
"At COP26, the United States — along with 39 governments and institutions — signed the Glasgow Statement, pledging to prioritize the clean energy transition and end new direct public support for the international fossil fuel sector by 2022," the letter states. "This is the very least we can do, considering that even existing production capacities already exceed the limits set by the Paris Agreement."
"Despite this, the United States is hurtling towards a massively harmful expansion of Liquefied Natural Gas infrastructure," it continues. "Regrettably, there exist similar plans in many other countries — including in Germany, the U.S., and Canada."
The letter further argues that while liquefied natural gas (LNG) — natural gas that has been cooled to enable easier transport — was originally looked to as a means to "tackle the consequences of the global energy crisis," additional LNG capacity is "not needed." Climate advocates have long opposed LNG and natural gas production since, when burned for power production, it produces greenhouse gas emissions.
However, natural gas has widely been looked to as a replacement for coal production since it is a source of reliable power and produces roughly 40% less carbon dioxide. U.S. carbon emissions have declined nearly 20% since 2005, driven in large part by a transition from coal to natural gas generation in the power sector.
"The U.S. has led in the production of affordable, reliable, clean energy, in large part due to our vast fossil fuel resources," Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, who chairs the Conservative Climate Caucus and is attending COP28, told Fox News Digital.
"Republicans need a presence at COP to push back on bad ideas and show how innovation can leave our world more prosperous and better than we found it," he said. "The goal at COP should be to reduce global emissions, not energy choices."
Curtis is among the U.S. lawmakers attending COP28 who received the letter from Markey, Badum and Galvez.
The letter has received the support of additional lawmakers from the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the European Union. It will be published during COP28 as part of the ongoing "Global Parliamentary Inquiry on the Progress of the Fossil Fuel Phase-out."
And, on Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee hosted a hearing about America's energy and environmental leadership on the world stage. The hearing focused on emissions reductions made possible by greater natural gas production and reliance.
"This Shale Revolution and the affordable and reliable natural gas that American workers are now producing has also enabled America to reduce emissions more than any other nation, and we have the capacity to continue helping countries reduce their emissions even further," Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., remarked during the hearing.
"We should instead be working to build on our remarkable legacy, which has transformed the human condition, helped lift people out of poverty, and raised the standard of living," she added. "The best way to do that is with a strong energy mix that takes advantage of the resources we have here at home, lowers costs for Americans, and prevents us from becoming reliant on China for our energy needs."
According to federal data, in 2005, coal generated 50% of total U.S. power across the power, industrial, commercial and residential sectors, while natural gas generated just 19%. In 2022, by comparison, coal generated less than 20% of the nation's power and natural gas generated 40%, making it by far the largest power source in the country.
Markey and Badum didn't respond to requests for comment.