Posted May 31, 2016
Politico has an interview out today with Iain Conn, chief executive of the British energy and services company Centrica. Entire piece is here, but let’s look at a couple of the points that he makes:
A lot of good stuff in two short questions starting with a rebuke of the command-and-control approach to energy and environment in Europe versus U.S. market-based solutions.
What’s the biggest difference between the European and American energy markets?
The U.S. has lucked out with shale gas … The U.S. has achieved the same decarbonization of its economy as Europe has, for completely different reasons. Europe has been deliberate and it’s been very expensive, and the U.S. has been lucky and it turned out to be much cheaper.
And how do European and American views on energy differ?
Europe would probably wish it had some similar thing, but then in Europe you get people who say, ‘Natural gas? It’s a fossil fuel, it’s evil! And fracking? We can’t do that it’s dangerous. The world could implode, or I could be walking my dog in Germany, and it could be asphyxiated by methane gas.’ We get all these crazy fear factors being generated in Europe, which holds us back…
In the U.S. competitive forces and industry innovation are driving technological advances and producing clean-burning natural gas that has led to carbon emissions from power generation to their lowest level in more than 20 years. Meanwhile our nation’s new status as the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas is saving American families and businesses billions in energy costs. AAA estimates that the American consumer saved, on average, over $550 in 2015 on transportation fuel costs as a result of abundant energy. In addition to saving consumers money and reducing emissions, the energy from shale revolution the National Association of Manufacturer’s estimates that “Expanded energy access generated by the shale boom added 1.9 million jobs in 2015 alone, and demand for these resources, driven in part by new investments in manufacturing, is expected to grow by 40 percent over the next decade.” And lastly global security has been enhanced by diminishing the influence of less stable oil-producing regions.
Energy, jobs, security, and low costs – the U.S. model has proven we can achieve environmental progress without an onslaught of government interventions. A situation unfortunately not embraced by all in the U.S. and we have plenty of folks trying to generate “crazy fear factors” right here at home.
But instead of fear and fiction, instead of bombarding our economy with duplicative, job-crushing new regulations, policy makers need to embrace science-based policies and accept that the goals of environmental progress and energy production are not mutually exclusive and embrace policies that recognize America’s energy resurgence.
Market-driven initiatives are improving our environment, while lowering costs for consumers, let’s embrace our exceptional good fortune instead of using government as a barrier to hold us back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Reid Porter is a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute. Before joining API, he worked as Account Supervisor at Edelman. Porter double majored in English Literature and the Spanish language at Middlebury College in Vermont. He enjoys traveling, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, soccer, rereading Hemingway novels and spending time with family.