Posted September 22, 2015
Today, API released a new report on investments in greenhouse gas-mitigating measures that illustrates the oil and natural gas industry’s leadership in innovating the technologies and efficiencies to keep improving air quality. We conclude a series of posts on the intersection of energy development and climate/environmental goals (here, here and here) with a look at the new report.
Key numbers from T2 and Associates’ new report on investments in mitigating greenhouse gases (GHG) by industry:
- $90 billion in zero and low-carbon emitting technologies from 2000 through 2014.
- When you include shale natural gas – which the U.S. Energy Information Administration largely credits for a 27-year low in carbon dioxide emissions – industry’s total investment rises to $217.5 billion.
- Those numbers compare with $102.8 billion invested by all other U.S.-based industries over the same period and $111.3 billion invested by the federal government.
These figures are depicted in a chart from the T2 report:
During a conference call with reporters, API President and CEO Jack Gerard said many of the investments are in technologies that reduce leaks, capture emissions and improve energy efficiency – a number of which play a role in a 79 percent reduction in methane emissions from hydraulically fractured wells since 2005 (EPA data). Gerard:
“As a result of the industry’s investments, our nation’s CO2 emissions in 2014 were 55.5 million metric tons lower than the previous year – the equivalent of removing 11.8 million cars from the road. No other industry’s investment comes close. For context, the oil and natural gas industry investment is higher than the automotive industry, electric utilities and agriculture and food processing industries combined. … More broadly, the study demonstrates how market-driven, private sector leadership can achieve public policy goals more quickly and more efficiently than government programs and mandates. This latest data from the study makes clear that we can grow our economy, create good-paying jobs, lead the world in energy production, and achieve significant environmental improvements.”
Gerard contrasted industry/private sector-led investments in GHG-mitigating technologies with government energy policies and regulatory proposals that attempt to control private markets and consumer behavior – despite the fact emissions of CO2, ozone and methane, for example, are falling. The larger story is how these government efforts could impact domestic energy development. Gerard:
“[G]overnment command-and-control proposals that put the United States at a severe disadvantage to competitors like China and Iran don’t make sense. We should not restrict development by America’s energy producers and harm our workers, our economy, and consumers here at home. The T2 study provides one more data point that refutes those who peddle the false choice between improving our environment and growing our economy and creating well-paying jobs. It shows that an all-of-the-above energy strategy not only drives investment in today’s technologies – it drives investment in the technologies that will power our economy for years to come.”
Gerard said the administration’s broader energy policy trajectory – as well as new energy legislation proposed by Senate Democrats – largely ignores potential impacts on American consumers.
“[W]e find it a bit ironic that when you look at the public policy choices there appears to be a double standard. … If you look out in the world today leadership from China is coming to the United States this week, and from a climate perspective they’ve been asked to reduce their carbon emissions beginning in 2030. So they’re going to have a free rein to grow their economy, expand what they’re doing, invest in their energy resources, emitting more and more carbon, at the same time we’re being asked to constrain or control our economy and reduce what we’re doing.”
“Secondarily, if you look at the crude (oil) export debate today, proposals have now gone forward … where the Iranians are going to have full access to the global market for their crude exports. But yet U.S. producers are denied that opportunity, thus impacting domestic consumers. … The administration is going forward with a proposal to expedite, to make speedier, infrastructure projects. Yet last week was the seventh anniversary of the Keystone XL pipeline that a decision has yet to be made, which happens to be the largest infrastructure project in the United States today. … We think it’s important that we have someone focused on representing American consumer interests in this conversation, and make sure American consumers are protected, not only to create good-paying jobs, but to make sure we can provide affordable, reliable energy.”
The T2 study reflects industry’s holistic, all-of-the-above approach to energy development. America’s oil and natural gas companies are energy companies, heavily invested in finding the next breakthrough technologies and mindful of the country’s larger climate and air quality objectives. At the same time industry is delivering the fuels needed to power the economy and Americans’ every-day lives today and tomorrow.
Industry is doing this while making significant investments in the future. Unfortunately, these days it does so while running up against the headwinds of duplicative regulation, more government red tape and an overall approach to energy policy from the administration that often seems oblivious to the opportunities that are being created by America’s ongoing energy revolution. The United States is the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas – the energy foundation of our economy. With the right leadership and policy choices, America has a generational opportunity to ensure economic and national security for years to come, with the right choices. Gerard:
“The facts are clear. By embracing our nation’s energy renaissance, we can lower costs, clean the air, and create more jobs here at home while providing an example to the world.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.