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Jack Gerard outlines market-based emissions reduction model in press call

API President and CEO Jack Gerard talks about market-driven climate solutions

Jack Gerard, president and CEO, American Petroleum Institute
Monday, November 16, 2015

Opening statement, as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining our call.

In two weeks, world leaders will begin to gather in Paris to attempt to develop a global consensus on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a planetary scale.

Achieving an agreement between more than 190 nations will mean overcoming competing and conflicting national priorities and vested economic interests.

There should be no place for dogmatic adherence to ideology. But rather science, economic reality and real-world proven results should guide the delegates’ deliberations.

To that end, this country has an opportunity to lead and to showcase how America’s private sector has already taken the lead on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even as we increase economic activity and domestic energy production to keep energy reliable and affordable for consumers. Our success is driven, not by government mandate or legislative fiat, but through innovation, investment and entrepreneurial spirit.

The United States has become the world leader in reduced carbon emissions from the power sector to near 27-year lows, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Methane emissions are also plummeting, falling 13 percent from the petroleum and natural gas systems sector since 2011, with the largest reductions coming from completions and workovers of hydraulically fractured natural gas wells, which have decreased by 83 percent during that period, according to the most recent EPA data.

Methane is a valuable product, and natural gas producers have invested millions in new technology to capture it for sale to consumers. Yet the government continues to pursue regulations that could interfere with that progress.

The fact is that the nation’s 21st century energy renaissance, which has made domestically produced natural gas cheap and abundant, has helped us achieve substantial and sustained emissions reductions without command and control style regulatory intervention. It is also saving consumers an average of $1,200 dollars a year.
We’re calling it the “U.S. Model.”

By contrast, the administration continues to hew to last century’s thinking that increased energy production and achieving climate goals are mutually exclusive, pursuing costly government mandates to detriment of the American consumer and our economy.

For example, the administration’s Clean Power Plan ignores the natural gas success story and pushes power plants to adopt sources like wind and solar. By giving preference to intermittent and more costly sources, the policy disadvantages natural gas, the energy source that is providing the greater benefit now.

The recent rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline also demonstrates the administrations priority for perception over reality. According to State Department analysis, carbon emissions will actually be 42 percent greater without Keystone XL. President Obama admitted in his announcement that the pipeline is a “symbol,” but pursuing symbolic climate leadership by rejecting Keystone XL causes actual economic harm while raising emissions.

In Paris, the commitment to reducing emissions should not be measured by which nation damages its economy the most. It should be measured by emissions reductions.

It should also embrace a true all of the above energy strategy, because the fact is we’ll need more energy from all sources if we are to meet the world’s growing energy needs.

The International Energy Agency projects global energy needs will increase 45 percent by 2040, and slightly more than half of demand will be met by oil and natural gas.

It may be an inconvenient truth for “leave it in the ground” activists, but fossil fuels and environmental progress are not and never have been mutually exclusive.

The fact is energy development has played and will continue to play a leading role in making the United States the world leader in emissions reductions. Where other nations have pledges, we have progress and results.

America’s market-driven success should be the model for the Paris conference.
As the president and his advisers work on a climate deal, they should keep consumers and our economy at the forefront.

That means developing a market-driven blueprint that achieves emissions reductions without sacrificing jobs, economic growth and energy production.

That means ensuring that any deal safeguards the progress the private sector has already made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

That means avoiding massive, command-and-control government mandates.
And that means keeping down energy costs for consumers.

Domestically, any deal should sustain and expand, not diminish our nation’s long-term energy security.

Globally, any deal should ensure that more and more people have access to reliable, safe and affordable energy, no matter which state, nation, continent or hemisphere they call home. More than a billion people around the world lack access to electricity and face a daily challenge for adequate food and education, clean water, protection from heat and cold and efficient transportation. To rise out of poverty and enjoy the health and safety many Americans take for granted, these developing nations need more energy, not less.

Before I take your questions, I’ll turn the program over to Kyle Isakower for a discussion of some of the data API will release in advance of the Paris climate summit.