U.S. Needs Realistic, Broad-Based Climate Solutions
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.
The U.S. has made real progress in lowering emissions without a wave of Washington directives. Our industry long has called for broad-based solutions that build on this progress and achieve results without hampering the economy and the opportunity for individuals and families to prosper. Frank Macchiarola, API senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs:
“We are not waiting for the government to take action – we are meeting this challenge head on through cleaner fuels and innovation, all while delivering the energy that American families rely on every day. Now more than ever, we need bipartisan policy solutions to reduce the risks of climate change that do not force a false choice between protecting the environment and growing the U.S. economy. We can do both, but it will require working together and recognizing the critical role of the natural gas and oil industry in reducing emissions and powering the nation’s economic recovery.”
Focusing on reducing carbon dioxide emissions is appropriate, as is protecting land and water resources. Industry already is making significant contributions in those areas:
- The U.S. has reduced CO2 emissions more than any other nation since 2000 – thanks largely to increased use of clean natural gas in the power sector.
- U.S. CO2 emissions are at their lowest levels in a generation – again, mostly because of abundant domestic natural gas.
- The rate of methane emissions relative to production from five of the largest U.S. producing regions, fell more than 60% between 2011 and 2018 (data here and here).
Likewise, industry figures prominently in the nation’s most significant public conservation initiative, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is supported by revenues generated by offshore oil and natural gas production.
API and its members support technologies and innovative, bipartisan climate solutions – such as CCUS – so we can help our country progress toward climate goals and protect the environment while also meeting growing demand for reliable energy. Macchiarola:
“Our industry is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions while providing access to affordable and reliable energy that helps enhance standards of living around the world.”
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. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. 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 have two grown children and six grandchildren.