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SEI’s Peter Erickson in Grist: “We don’t need more oil and gas” in US if they take Paris Agreement seriously

The US Department of Interior released a proposal on 1 July to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

Grist asked SEI’s Climate Policy Program Director Peter Erickson to weigh in.

Published on 1 July 2022
Helicopter flying over Gulf of Mexico oil rig during sunset

Photo: Cavan Images / Getty Images

A draft plan issued by the US Department of Interior in July 2022 recommends holding up to 10 oil and gas drilling lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico in the next five years, as well as one sale in the Cook Inlet off the coast of south-central Alaska.

But, as SEI Senior Scientist Peter Erickson told the online environmental news magazine Grist, the US doesn’t need to drill for more oil and gas if it truly intends to adhere to its Paris Agreement commitments.

Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland invites public comment on the leasing program.

Erickson’s work was cited in a January 2022 US federal court decision that threw out a 2021 Gulf of Mexico lease auction, the largest in the country’s history. SEI research indicated that federal authorities had not sufficiently accounted for the sale’s impact on climate change. The Department of Interior issued an environmental impact statement with this latest draft leasing plan.


Peter Erickson

SEI Affiliated Researcher


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