Posted July 11, 2016
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual energy conference is under way in Washington, D.C. Here are a few highlights from the first slate of speakers, which included John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, and Gregory Goff, Tesoro Corporation president and CEO.
Holdren went first, saying that the driver of technology in the future will be finding solutions to what he called the energy/climate challenge:
“Without energy there is no economy, without climate there is no environment and without economy and environment there’s no well-being, there’s no civil society, there’s no personal or national security, there’s no economic growth."
Holdren on the future energy mix:
“If you look at the EIA projections out to 2040, what you see … it is still true in 2040 that fossil fuels are the dominant source of energy for the world.”
On U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to reduce emissions by refusing to use U.S. fossil fuel reserves:
“Looking at GHG emissions data] it looks like indeed that the United States may have turned the corner in its greenhouse gas emissions. … I think the notion that we’re going to keep it all in the ground is unrealistic. We are still a very heavily fossil fuel-dependent world. … My personal guess is that the current investment in the global energy supply system is in the range of $25 trillion. That investment turns over ordinarily on the timescale of every 40 years … you don’t turn over a $25 trillion investment overnight no matter how badly you want to do that.”
Goff said the abundant, affordable reliable energy is good, and that the benefits of America’s free-market economy should be recognized. He said the energy regulatory framework must be fair and reasonable. Globally, Goff noted that 1.4 billion people live without electricity. He said eight in 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa heat their homes and cook their food using open fires:
“People everywhere have an inherent right, regardless of where they live, to better their lives for themselves and their children.”
Goff on the development of energy regulation by government:
“In a complex society such as ours there’s a need for appropriate regulation, and the regulations must be based on the principles of transparency, fairness and accountability. … First, agencies should get scientific advice from independent scientists not being given money by those agencies. This is called avoidance of conflict of interest. Data called upon for calculation of expected benefits of regulations should be made available to the general public. This is called transparency. Data developed with taxpayers’ dollars and used to develop regulations should also be made available to the general public. This is called basic fairness. Regulations of enormous and significant economic impact should be subject to reviews and approval by Congress. This is called accountability.”
Goff said there must be a level playing field that doesn’t penalize one industry or company:
“Consumers, companies and the economy all benefit when government policies are well-reasoned and balanced. America is blessed with an abundance of affordable, reliable energy. It must not be squandered. Allowing the forces of the free market to operate will continue to benefit society. Government should be a facilitating partner in this positive economic force, not a roadblock to it.”
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.