Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted November 6, 2020
The natural gas and oil industry has advanced sector-wide guidance for sustainability reporting for over fifteen years, reinforcing its longstanding commitment to energy and environmental progress.
Earlier this year, three international natural gas and oil industry associations – API, IPIECA and IOGP – released an updated version of the “Sustainability Reporting Guidance for the Oil and Gas Industry,” which provides a common framework for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
In September, IPIECA released the results of its annual reporting survey, identifying widely used performance indicators and emerging trends. The findings, which include answers from 27 of the world’s largest energy companies, highlight the progress of industry leaders and partner organizations.
Posted October 6, 2020
ESG – environmental, social and governance – covers the way that businesses achieve strong performance on a range of sustainability issues. Below, Dr. Aaron Padilla, API manager of climate and ESG policy, explains the natural gas and oil industry’s focus on ESG as integral to the way its members conduct themselves in developing energy, as well as the way stewardship on these issues is helping define the modern industry’s identity in 2020 and beyond.
A little background: Dr. Padilla leads API’s work to determine and represent the natural gas and oil industry’s own initiatives and its public policy positions on ESG and climate issues. In the past 13 years, he has worked in 30 countries across six continents. Prior to joining API, he worked for Chevron as a senior advisor for global issues and public policy. Dr. Padilla is a Marshall Scholar and Truman Scholar, and he completed his M.Phil. and Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge and B.A. at Stanford University.
Q: How does ESG apply to the natural gas and oil industry?
A: ESG is often interchangeable with the term “sustainability” and encompasses several environmental, social and safety issues. There’s climate change and energy, there’s environment – which covers air and water and waste and other elements of environmental performance – and then there’s safety, health and security, which obviously are a key focus of our industry. … And then there’s social performance more broadly, and that encompasses community relations and responsibility, that companies have to respect human rights. All of those issues fit under ESG. The governance part is the way companies have systematic processes and procedures and ways of managing the risks and opportunities associated with these environmental, social and safety issues.
Posted October 2, 2020
Growing natural gas use in the U.S. power sector continues to be an important factor in decreasing the country’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, a critical greenhouse gas in the climate conversation.
This is seen in the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) emissions report, which showed that these CO2 emissions decreased 2.8% in 2019 compared to 2018, largely thanks to changes in the electricity fuel mix.
Coal-related emissions declined 15% last year, reflecting a decline in coal’s share of U.S. power generation (falling from 27% to 23%). Natural gas is the leading fuel for generating electricity, its share of the mix rising to 38.4% in 2019 from 35% in 2018. (Nuclear accounted for 19.6% of generation while 9% was generated by wind and solar). Coal’s downward trend continued and even accelerated through the first two quarters of 2020, while natural gas’ share in the generating mix remained steady despite falling overall power demand.
Posted September 30, 2020
Sifting through what was a rollicking presidential debate Tuesday night, searching for important takeaways … Let’s look at the discussion near the end of the event that focused on climate, energy policy and energy jobs – in which safe and responsible natural gas and oil production here at home is a critical player.
As was accurately noted during the debate, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector are at their lowest levels in a generation – primarily because of growing use of natural gas to fuel electricity generation. Natural gas is the leading fuel for U.S. power generation and is projected to continue leading for decades to come.
Posted September 21, 2020
America’s natural gas and oil industry is committed to reducing the risks of climate change by producing ever-cleaner fuels and continuously improving environmental performance. As a nation, we’ve made significant progress over the years, with national greenhouse gas emissions down 10% since 2005.
Tackling the challenge of climate change will require a collaborative, cross-sector effort, and API is prepared – with climate policy principles – to constructively engage to identify workable policy solutions that deliver economic and environmental progress.
This Climate Week, let’s recognize the ongoing role that energy operators will continue to play in safely developing resources in the U.S. and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Posted July 9, 2020
Exporting U.S. natural gas via liquefied natural gas (LNG) has a big advantage over coal in lowering greenhouse gas emissions in electricity generation, according to a new study by ICF, (summarized here).
The analysis certainly quantifies what we’ve discussed before (see here and here) – that using clean natural gas to generate electricity significantly lowers GHG emissions compared to the emissions levels of coal-fired generation – on average, by 50.5%, according to ICF’s research.
GHGs include carbon dioxide from the fuel itself as well as CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and other gases emitted during the construction and operation of related fuel supply chain and power plant infrastructure.
The findings support the view that exported LNG gives the United States, the world’s leading natural gas producer, a golden opportunity to strengthen its global environmental and climate leadership.
Posted June 30, 2020
When the “Green New Deal” first was floated in Washington last year, it struggled to gain much altitude and more or less collapsed of its own weight.
The plan proposed dramatic alterations to America – especially the energy sector. Provisions impacting transportation, housing, communications and modern standards of living weren’t very palatable. Ernest Moniz, President Obama’s energy secretary, suggested the plan wasn’t “politically or economically implementable.” Not surprisingly, House leaders didn’t warm to the proposal, and it didn’t gain traction in Congress.
This week the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has unveiled a new climate package of market-based mechanisms, government mandates, investments and tax incentives – including promotion of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) and provisions aimed at electric utilities and automakers, who would be told to produce only electric cars by 2035.
While API will review the House proposal according to the API Climate Position and Climate Policy Principles, let’s assert that the forward path on climate must be realistic. This means including natural gas and oil – which will be part of the nation’s energy mix for decades to come – and capitalizing on our industry’s proven ability to help significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Posted May 26, 2020
A deadly pandemic and crushed economies are bad ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Surprisingly, some environmentalists agree with us on that.
We offer these points in the wake of a new study showing a 17% drop in global carbon dioxide emissions in early April – as world economies were being shuttered to slow the spread of COVID-19 – perhaps to head off those who might be tempted to call a crippling pandemic and reversing two decades of economic growth good climate policy.
Not many folks would say such a thing out loud, because that 17% decrease wasn’t free. Not when you consider the horrifying loss of life and financial devastation that has impacted so many: jobs that might not come back, disposable income that can’t be replaced, businesses that are struggling or have gone under, manufacturing idled. And there’s more: surgeries and other health care put off or canceled, rising levels of depression and a palpable grimness across society.
Posted April 22, 2020
Earth Day 2020 finds the world in unprecedented circumstances. Despite the once-in-a-lifetime challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, the natural gas and oil industry’s commitment to protect workers, communities and the environment remains fundamental to what we do, every day. …
As American energy workers power through a pandemic to provide reliable energy to the hospitals and families and others who need it most, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day provides us with the opportunity to recognize the ongoing role our industry plays in lowering U.S. emissions, protecting our land and wildlife and supporting coastal resilience across the nation – all while producing the reliable, affordable, cleaner energy American families need.
API Releases New Sustainability Reporting Guidance with International Community to Promote Environmental Progress
Posted March 30, 2020
Industry-led efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are a key contribution to global climate solutions, and when companies transparently report their performance, it reflects their commitment to ongoing advances in sustainability. The natural gas and oil industry pioneered industry-wide guidance for sustainability reporting 15 years ago, and for decades now, has delivered detailed performance information for stakeholders, including regulators, investors and the general public.
Today, three leading global natural gas and oil industry associations – API, IPIECA and IOGP – released the fourth edition of the “Sustainability Reporting Guidance for the Oil and Gas industry,” which provides a consensus framework for company reporting on sustainability topics in governance and business ethics; climate change; environment; safety, health and security; and social impacts.