Posted March 13, 2017
Posted January 10, 2017
President Obama has a piece in Science magazine, that notes the “decoupling” of U.S. economic growth and energy-associated carbon emissions in recent years and largely attributes this new trend of growth and falling emissions to increased use of cleaner-burning domestic natural gas. … On this the president is singing our song (see here and here) – and he’s certainly welcome to do so.
Posted December 9, 2016
The concept that economic growth doesn’t have to be accompanied by rising carbon emissions – dubbed “decoupling” by the New York Times – has additional detail in a new Brookings Institution report that finds more than 30 states have seen those historical partners delinked and headed in different directions. Though Brookings credits state and local efforts for the majority of this emissions reduction progress between 2000 and 2014, cleaner-burning natural gas is the real hero.
Posted November 28, 2016
There is indeed critically important climate progress being made in the United States, thanks to an energy transition – though perhaps not precisely the one EPA’s Gina McCarthy had in mind. It’s natural gas – the increased use of which is the primary reason the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects U.S. energy-related carbon emissions this year will be the lowest since 1992.
Posted October 28, 2016
For the oil and gas industry, former buildings, facilities, well pads and rigs often hold promise of a second life for both local communities and the environment, whether it’s turning an offshore rig into an artificial reef, reclaiming an onshore drill site or repurposing a building or port to fit a variety of socially beneficial needs. All are examples of industry’s commitment to being a responsible neighbor on land and in the sea.
Posted October 11, 2016
Posted January 12, 2016
During his last State of the Union address, President Obama could declare victory – an energy victory that has seen surging domestic production, lower consumer costs, economic growth and environmental progress, all happening together, on his watch. The president can say this U.S. model is winning the day, because it is. He should say this model is exportable to the world, because it is.
Fact: The U.S. is the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas. The domestic revolution in the production of oil and gas has reduced net oil imports and positioned the U.S. to claim its place as a major player in global energy markets. At the same time, the U.S. is leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Fact: Affordable natural gas – the average price at the national benchmark Henry Hub in 2015 was the lowest since 1999 – is largely the reason wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs (on a monthly average for on-peak hours) were down 27 percent to 37 percent across the U.S. last year compared to 2014. That’s a real benefit for consumers.
Fact: Natural gas is winning in the marketplace. This is reflected in data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing the change in annual U.S. energy consumption by fuel source over the past decade.
These are all characteristics of the U.S. model, a market-driven model for energy growth, consumer benefits and climate progress. The president can own it. We wouldn’t mind a bit.
Posted October 16, 2015
It’s been a tough week for corn ethanol producers and supporters of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
First, a new University of Tennessee report finds that the RFS and its ethanol mandates fall short on a number of environmental fronts, and that without mandated ethanol use the corn ethanol industry couldn’t survive commercially. The report:
Looking back over the last 10 years, the RFS and its resulting promotion of corn ethanol as a leading oxygenate supplement to conventional transportation fuels did not meet intended environmental goals. Corn ethanol’s environmental record has failed to meet expectations across a number of metrics that include air pollutants, water contamination, and soil erosion. Corn ethanol has resulted in a number of less favorable environmental outcomes when compared to a scenario in which the traditional transportation fuel market had been left unchanged.
Posted March 7, 2015
The politics of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use are on display this weekend in Iowa, a key presidential primary state. Nothing against Iowa – or ethanol, for that matter – but the RFS illustrates that when you mix energy policy and politics bad public policy can result.
Certainly, the RFS shows the difficulty of trying to apply central planning to the marketplace, of trying to mandate consumer behavior. The RFS is a relic of the era of energy scarcity in the U.S. whose best intentions have been superseded by surging domestic oil and natural gas production.
Still, the RFS remains and along with it potential risks to the economy, vehicle engines and more. It also risks unintended consequences, including a moral/ethical dilemma over whether food should be turned into fuels, as well as concern for the environmental impact of corn ethanol production.
Posted December 22, 2014
A new peer-reviewed study of transportation fueling options generated a pretty good buzz last week, basically for the finding that electric vehicles might not be as good for the environment as previously thought. Another of the study’s conclusions also is worth underscoring: the negative environmental impacts of corn ethanol in fuels.
A team of University of Minnesota researchers assessed life-cycle air quality impacts of 10 alternatives to conventional gasoline vehicles. On corn ethanol:
We find that powering vehicles with corn ethanol or with coal-based or “grid average” electricity increases monetized environmental health impacts by 80% or more relative to using conventional gasoline.