Trump Administration Rebrands Carbon Dioxide As “Molecules Of U.S. Freedom”


The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has apparently started referring to carbon dioxide as “molecules of freedom” and natural gas as “freedom gas” , according to its latest press release.

In a statement announcing an increase of natural gas exports, energy officials used the surprising new terms. The statement announces the expansion of a facility in Quintana, Texas, that produces liquified natural gas (LNG) for worldwide export.

“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy. Further, more exports of U.S. LNG to the world means more U.S. jobs and more domestic economic growth and cleaner air here at home and around the globe,” said  U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes.

“I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, who signed the export order.

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U.S. President Trump, center, speaks in April 2019 during an executive signing event at the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas. Trump signed two executive orders aimed at promoting energy infrastructure by directing federal agencies to make specific changes meant to remove bottlenecks to natural gas transport in the Northeast and streamline federal reviews of border-crossing pipelines and other infrastructure.

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The announcement was made at the Tenth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM10) in Vancouver, Canada where the DOE says it is ”highlighting its efforts to advance clean energy.” Ministers gathered in Vancouver, Canada, with the goals of accelerating progress towards a clean energy future. The CEM10 website outlines its aims for the summit as:

  • High-level policy dialogue and sharing of best practices to help accelerate the transition to a low carbon future.
  • International collaboration on clean energy innovation and adoption of clean energy policies and practices.
  • Public-private engagement to build cooperation among industry, government, and civil society to scale up clean energy around the globe.

The US Government’s statement overshadowed clean energy commitments by other nations at CEM10, which consists of 24 countries and the EU that together account for 90% of all investment in clean energy in the world and 75% of global GHG emissions.

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Oil pump jacks work behind a natural gas flare in North Dakota.


The language has been met with widespread criticism, with Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington running for the Democratic presidential nomination with an emphasis on climate change saying: “This has to be a joke.” 

The term “freedom gas” may have originated during a visit by US Energy Secretary Rick Perry to the European Union in April. Perry has been known for natural gas consumption and freedom, stating that: “Seventy-five years after liberating Europe from Nazi Germany occupation, the United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent. And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”

Using patriotic terms to distract from key political issues has been used by previous administrations. The term “freedom fries” was proposed in 2003 to show the government’s displeasure as France opposed the invasion of Iraq. Then Republican Congressmen Walter B Jones and Robert W Ney even pushed the House of Representative’s restaurants to rename French toast as “freedom toast”.

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A banner reading “Trump Digs Coal” is displayed during a rally with U.S. President Donald Trump, in Charleston, West Virginia.

© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

After taking office, President Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, arguing that it disadvantaged US companies. The decision received widespread criticism from across the world, with campaigners accusing the administration of threatening any hope of global collaboration on climate action.

The White House is also continuing to roll back environmental regulations, dismiss predictions about climate change impacts and restrict the language used by government scientists. These actions go against mainstream public opinion, with 72 percent of Americans saying that they consider climate change to be a moderate, serious, or imminent threat  and more Americans supporting than opposing the implementation of a carbon tax.

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