On Earth Day, Four Indicators of Industry-Led Environmental Progress
Posted April 22, 2021
This year, efforts to advance environmental progress and economic growth feel more urgent than ever. America’s post-pandemic recovery requires energy for transportation and everyday use, and our long-term climate goals demand immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
These dual challenges are complex but not incompatible, and with the flexibility and scope of an economywide approach, the U.S. can deliver lasting solutions for sustainable human development.
API’s recently released Climate Action Framework establishes a roadmap for public policies and industry initiatives that can accelerate economy-wide emissions reductions, while expanding access to affordable, reliable energy. America has a strong track record of climate leadership, and with ongoing investment in technological innovations and a commitment to collaboration, we can achieve meaningful results.
Democrats, Republicans and Independents respect our industry and recognize its staying power. In a new Morning Consult poll of 1,991 registered voters, 73 percent of Americans agree that natural gas and oil are going to be part of the energy mix for decades to come and should be included in the country’s energy policies. (Majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans all agree – click here for more information.)
In celebration of Earth Day, here are four indicators of continuous, industry-led environmental progress:
- Cleaner fuels are contributing to significant U.S. emissions reductions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report, total emissions fell 1.7% between 2018 and 2019, and have decreased 11.6% since 2005. The continued shift from coal to natural gas and renewables in the U.S. power sector is a key driver of declining emissions.
- Private-sector research and development is producing cost-effective climate solutions. The natural gas and oil industry’s focus on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), and other groundbreaking technologies, has enabled the deployment of commercial-scale facilities designed to reduce emissions. These innovations will be essential to meeting the ambitions outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Timely, accurate climate reporting is the industry standard. For decades, the natural gas and oil industry has pioneered sustainability reporting to provide detailed performance data to regulators, investors and the general public. Energy companies continue to engage with stakeholders to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and assess climate-related financial risks.
- Industry-driven initiatives are empowering operational excellence. Voluntary corporate sustainability programs, like The Environmental Partnership, bring together experts from the nation’s top energy producers to better understand, detect and mitigate methane emissions. The Partnership’s latest flare management program allows participating companies to share proven techniques for cost-effectively reducing emissions.
The natural gas and oil industry – alongside many other U.S. sectors – is adopting comprehensive strategies to prepare for a lower-carbon world. The challenge of climate change will not be solved by one single policy or pledge, but our shared commitments are already producing measurable success. Our broader pursuit of environmental progress is well underway, and together, we can continue to shape a better energy future.
About The Author
Lem Smith is API’s vice president for Federal Relations. Lem joined API in February 2020 as vice president for Upstream Policy & Industry Operations. He previously served as a principal at Squire Patton Boggs, an international law and public-policy firm, where he advised private and public sector clients on federal and multi-state policy matters and provided counsel on communications strategies, campaign affairs and crises management. Previously, Lem was director, U.S. Government & Regulatory Affairs at Encana, and responsible for all aspects of U.S. government relations and regulatory policy matters at the state and federal levels. Prior to that, Lem was director of Government Relations for Kerr-McGee Corporation. Lem began his career on Capitol Hill, working for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker (Mississippi) and the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood (Georgia), where he negotiated key member priorities within the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPAct). Lem is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
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