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Energy Tomorrow Blog

The RFS and Climate

analysis  renewable fuel standard  climate  ethanol  greenhouse gas emissions  natural gas benefits 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 21, 2015

The third in a series of posts on the intersection of energy development and policy and the pursuit of climate goals. Last week: The Clean Power Plan’s flawed approach in the energy sector and the role of increased natural gas use in improving air quality. Today:  The impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard and federal ethanol policy.

A decade ago Congress passed legislation creating the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – requiring escalating volumes of ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply – that was intended in part to help reduce crude oil imports while capitalizing the supposed environmental advantages of ethanol.

Crude oil imports indeed have been falling since 2008. But, as we’ve detailed before, virtually all of the decrease is due to rising domestic crude oil production, not the RFS. Thanks to vast domestic shale reserves and safe hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas – which by far has had the most to do with reducing U.S. net crude imports.

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Advancing Climate Goals by Leading on Emissions

analysis  climate  emissions  natural gas benefits  carbon dioxide  ozone  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 18, 2015

Below is the second in a series of posts on the intersection of energy development and the pursuit of climate goals. Yesterday, API President CEO weighed in on the administration’s Clean Power Plan and its flawed approach of picking winners and losers in the energy sector. Today – rising natural gas use plays a key role in falling emissions of carbon dioxide – even as levels of methane and ozone decline.

Talk of climate change and climate-related goals is everywhere. We pay special attention when the climate talk turns to energy development – because there’s a great climate story stemming from America’s energy revolution.

Let’s start with emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). The U.S. Energy Information Administration tells us that monthly power sector CO2 emissions in April were the lowest for any month since April 1988. That’s a 27-year low.

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A Flawed Approach on Climate, Energy

analysis  climate change  energy development  emissions  natural gas benefits  Jack Gerard 

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted September 17, 2015

Below is the first of a short series of posts on the intersection of energy development and efforts to meet climate-change goals. In this post, API President and CEO Jack Gerard comments on the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and its flawed approach of picking winners and losers in the energy sector.

On Monday, Aug. 3, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced sweeping new carbon regulations for power plants. By Wednesday, Aug. 5, the government announced carbon emissions from power plants in April 2015 reached a 27-year low.

Did the costly, top-down mandates of the Clean Power Plan really work that quickly? Of course not. The dramatic emissions reductions are the result of market forces that have nothing to do with heavy-handed government regulations and everything to do with the fact that the United States is the world’s leading producer of natural gas.

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Natural Gas Drives Emissions Lower

analysis  natural gas consumption  electricity  emissions  eia  methane  american petroleum institute 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 5, 2015

New government stats on falling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electrical power generation point to a good-news story on energy and climate, one that should grab the attention of policymakers nationally and in the states. This is seen in data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Plotting CO2 emissions from the electric power sector from 1988 to this April, EIA reports emissions hit their lowest point for any month in 27 years. This is largely because of increased use of natural gas in power generation – a market choice that’s based on the availability and affordability of natural gas, as well as the fact it is clean-burning. 

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Leading on Reducing Methane Emissions

analysis  methane  emissions  epa  american petroleum institute  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 24, 2015

Some thoughts on EPA’s proposed program to encourage voluntary methane emissions reductions from existing sources. The Methane Challenge Program would expand on the Natural Gas STAR program by recognizing companies that make specific emissions reduction commitments and agree to submit annual data on the progress they’re making.

First, industry supports voluntary. The program could be supportive of what industry already is doing to reduce methane emissions – an effort that is working. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report issued this spring showed methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down 79 percent since 2005 – a period in which natural gas production has soared.

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Natural Gas and CO2 Emissions

air quality  co2 emissions  natural gas 

Erik Milito

Erik Milito
Posted July 17, 2015

Earlier this week Climate Central posted a story on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants noting that 41 states experienced reductions from 2008 to 2013, according to a study by Ceres, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Bank of America and four large utilities. 

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Energy and Liberty

analysis  Jack Gerard  energy  government  regulation  hydraulic fracturing  oil and natural gas  methane emissions  revenue 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 2, 2015

A few months ago API President and CEO Jack Gerard explained why America is experiencing an energy revolution:

“We got to this era of energy abundance and global energy leadership because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, the hard work of the American worker and the unique system of private property and individual rights of the American marketplace.”

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The Science of Obfuscation

analysis  oil sands  ghg emissions  heavy crude  state department  canada  keystone xl pipeline 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 24, 2015

A few observations on an Energy Department-funded study that reportedly asserts Canadian oil sands will yield significantly greater emissions than conventional crude oil. We say “reportedly,” because the study itself isn’t out yet, just the abstract. Even so, the Wall Street Journal breathlessly says the “findings provide ammunition to foes of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and other critics of surging Canadian oil output.”

Now, take a deep breath.

We’ve posted on this claim before. President Obama brought it up a couple months ago to justify more than six years of delaying a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by the White House. Certainly, assigning alarming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to oil sands boosts an anti-KXL, anti-oil sands position. But it’s a faulty comparison.

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Energy Abundance and Global Energy Leadership

oil and natural gas production  keystone xl pipeline  fuels  refineries  greenhouse gas emissions  ozone regulations  renewable fuel standard  cera 

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted April 22, 2015

Today, the United States leads in petroleum products, refining and natural gas production, and we’re on track to lead in the production of crude oil; facts reinforced by last week’s EIA Annual Energy Outlook.

The report confirmed that our nation is more energy secure than ever before.  And it said in part that domestic production of natural gas is projected to grow through 2040 eventually reaching 35.45 tcf; and domestic oil production is projected to exceed 10 mbd in a few years and remain at that level through 2030.  Keeping pace with our nation’s increased development of our energy resources are the 139 operating refineries that produce more fuel than ever before and support roughly 540,000 good paying jobs and 1.9 percent of our nation’s economy.  

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Cont’d: The Falling Methane Emissions Story

natural gas development  methane  emission reductions  epa  greenhouse gas emissions  hydraulic fracturing  fracking  production  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 16, 2015

For months we’ve argued that new federal regulation targeting methane emissions from energy development is unnecessary and could undermine the success industry initiatives already are achieving. Howard Feldman, API’s senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs, from earlier this year:

“Methane is the product we bring to market. We sell methane – that is natural gas. That’s what we want to sell. … We don’t need regulation to tell us to do that because we are incentivized to do that. It’s not a byproduct or something. It is the product we’re selling. … We’re developing these technologies because we want to more and more capture natural gas.”

This is exactly what’s happening, as new data from EPA shows.

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