The sudden energy crisis unfolding across Europe and Asia has taken many by surprise. With continued ripple effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented supply chain interruptions already causing havoc in economies around the world, how could yet another crisis have happened so quickly? How could 21st Century power plants run out of fuel? How could it get so bad that Chinese manufacturers have shuttered their operations with no electricity?

There are many factors contributing to the energy shortages and painful price increases around the world — with costs predicted to balloon by 30% or more in the United Kingdom and similarly high in other countries — but one of the most insidious causes is the political ideology influencing our financial system.

From BlackRock to Bank of America, financial institutions are wielding their financial power as a weapon, seeking to defund industries they deem politically incorrect and investing their customers’ money based on their leadership’s personal ideologies — abdicating their duty to maximize financial returns. This collusion on Wall Street is so pervasive that many American energy companies, especially small and mid-sized businesses, are unable to get the financing they need to continue powering the nation.

When the major financial players are colluding in broad daylight to press their political agendas on the world and de-bank entire industries, the free market is no longer truly free.

And the Biden administration’s relentless crusade against the fossil fuel industry only adds fuel to the fire. Regulatory whiplash from Biden’s near-immediate reversal of any and all reforms from the previous administration, combined with increasingly expensive and oppressive restrictions on energy production, makes it harder than ever for energy producers to do their jobs — or for citizens to afford to keep the lights on and keep their homes warm in the wintertime.

Yet Biden seems to have no inkling that his own political agenda is driving energy prices sky-high. Just months after enacting unprecedented executive orders constraining American oil, gas, and clean coal, the Biden administration begged energy companies for help reducing prices, apparently clueless as to their own role in the crisis.

With more big-government climate regulations on the docket, political pressure from Washington (or from anti-energy states like California) isn’t likely to subside any time soon. For U.S. energy producers, the end may be near. For the American people, sky-high gasoline prices and heating bills and unreliable electricity may be the new norm.

If — or, rather, when — the energy crisis reaches our shores, the consequences will be felt not just in the United States, but all over the world. American natural gas powers a prodigious portion of the globe. Sadly, the Biden administration’s continued assault on fossil fuel producers will give OPEC, Russia, and other foreign nations a greater hold on global energy markets — meaning we produce less energy responsibly here and the United States returns to its dependence on foreign suppliers similar to the situation that created lines at the gas stations in the 1970s.  In fact, while hobbling the production of oil reserves by American firms, President Biden is calling on OPEC to pump more oil so that U.S. consumers — and taxpayers — can send more of our hard-earned money to anyone but American producers.

America must lead — and we must never apologize for responsibly harvesting and sharing the fuels that offer health, well-being, and prosperity to our fellow citizens and consumers across the world.

Americans consistently report they aren’t willing to sacrifice their hard-earned money for expensive, ineffective climate programs — and when unaffordable gasoline prices and astronomical heating bills become reality for American families, the progressive climate agenda will come screeching to a halt.

Our nation can reverse course, but only if our leaders — both in government and in business — lay down their arms and focus on our nation’s future instead of pursuing damaging ideological agendas.

This commentary originally appeared in The Cannon Online on November 5, 2021.

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