The World Should Follow the U.S. Energy Model
Posted December 7, 2018
Bolstered by natural gas and innovation, the U.S. has proven that you can reduce emissions without sacrificing affordable energy. We have a road map to success, and we have forged a path for others to follow. As world leaders meet this week in search of a plan, we offer our experiences as a way for us all to build on this progress.
Our industry uses high-tech solutions to develop energy from places previously thought to be inaccessible – from shale and other tight-rock formations to deep-water regions far from the U.S. coastline – because that energy is what makes our modern lives possible. These essential resources keep the lights on, serve as building blocks for countless products, and fuel the trains, planes and automobiles we rely on. Global demand just reached 100 million barrels per day – and it’s no secret that the U.S. shale revolution is the reason this demand is being met. From the International Energy Agency (IEA):
"The energy policy landscape of the United States has fundamentally changed over the past decade. In many aspects there have been significant improvements, and the country is in a strong position to deliver a reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy system. The most obvious change has been the renaissance of oil and gas production: the growth in unconventional gas production, alongside increased output of light tight oil, is making a substantial contribution to economic activity and competitiveness.”
In case you missed it, that IEA analysis is about more than just energy production – it’s about the specific, long-term role of natural gas and oil in maintaining an environmentally sustainable energy system. From the same report:
“The U.S. natural gas boom has resulted in stable wholesale electricity prices, lower greenhouse gas emissions and greater system flexibility.”
The benefits of the U.S. shale revolution extend far beyond the energy it takes for our daily commute or a light switch at home. The United States’ world leadership in natural gas and oil production is accompanied by world leadership in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. That’s because industry is actively addressing the complex global challenge of climate change through robust investments in technology innovation, efficiency improvements and cleaner fuels – and natural gas is driving U.S. CO2 emissions to their lowest level in a generation even while CO2 emissions around the globe have risen 50 percent since 1990.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear from the experts:
“While most major economies saw a rise in carbon emissions, some others experienced declines… The biggest decline came from the United States, where emissions dropped by 0.5%, or 25 Mt…marking the third consecutive year of decline.”
According to the recent report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program:
“North American [CO2] emissions from fossil fuel combustion have declined on average by 1% per year over the last decade, largely because of reduced reliance on coal, greater use of natural gas (a more efficient fossil fuel), and increased vehicle fuel efficiency standards.”
And the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that switching to natural gas accounted for more than 60% of the CO2 emission reductions from 2006-2017.
Building a better future takes energy, and that’s why our industry invested more than any other industry sector in zero- and low-emissions technologies since 2000 – to deliver the affordable and reliable energy Americans need while protecting the environment and the health of our communities.
Beyond carbon, the combined emissions of six key air pollutants dropped 73 percent between 1970 and 2017, even while energy consumption rose by 44 percent. Tailpipe emissions have dropped thanks to advances in clean fuels and vehicle technology, with new cars, trucks, SUVs and buses running about 99 percent cleaner than models produced in 1970 – reducing pollution even as vehicle miles traveled have nearly tripled.
The bottom line is that natural gas and oil production in America is among the cleanest in the world. Our industry continues to demonstrate that meeting record demand and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive, and has done so while building toward a cleaner, safer, better future.
About The Author
Jessica Lutz is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. Jessica joined API after 10+ years leading the in-house marketing and communications for non-profits and trade associations. A Michigan native, Jessica graduated from The University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Political Science. She resides in Washington, D.C., and spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her energetic Giant Schnauzer, Jackson.
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