Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted December 1, 2015
This week’s climate summit in Paris will be filled with talk of ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s an important discussion for sure, but it’s one that should focus on achievable, real-world initiatives. A couple of starting points for an action agenda:
The first is an acknowledgement – that the availability of safe, reliable energy is fundamental to lifting people – and entire nations – from poverty. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called energy the “the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability.” With the International Energy Agency telling us that more than a billion people around the world don’t have electricity, it would be a mistake for the Paris summit to do anything that impedes or blocks access to energy. The world needs more energy, not less.
The second point a realization by the summiteers that private markets, not command-and-control government interventions, offer the best avenue to advance climate objectives while growing energy supplies – progress without hamstringing economies and hindering individual opportunity.
Posted November 3, 2015
API assembled a great panel of election/campaign experts to discuss how Election 2016 is shaping up and which issues will be salient when Americans vote a year from now. As for predicting the key issues 12 months into the future, the experts said what honest experts say: Who knows for sure? Yet, Public Opinion Strategies’ Glen Bolger no doubt was in the ballpark:
“I don’t think any one issue is going to dominate the election. … You’re going to have a number of different issues debated: foreign policy and national security being up there, the economy and jobs … Energy certainly can play a role in that, just given that it is a component of jobs and the economy. It’s a component of our national security, it’s a component of our foreign policy. I think energy will be an issue, but the question is how big.”
Great point. Energy and advancing the right policies for American energy certainly run through a number of the things Americans say they care about most: jobs, a thriving economy and safety for themselves and their families. That’s what comes through the results of a new Harris Poll of 2,800 registered voters: energy, energy, energy.
Posted October 14, 2015
Highlights from API President and CEO Jack Gerard’s conference call with reporters in which he discussed efforts to lift America’s 1970s-era ban on crude oil exports and the positive climate impacts of the U.S. energy revolution in advance of next month’s COP21 conference in Paris.
Last week the U.S. House of Representatives sent a clear message that it stands for a brighter energy and economic future for our nation when it approved with a strong bipartisan majority lifting the 1970s era ban on crude oil exports. We now call on the Senate to do the same. We urge them to unleash our nation’s energy potential by ending this vestige of our nation’s era of energy scarcity, dependence and insecurity.
According to [studies by Columbia University and Brookings/NERA], putting this additional U.S. oil on the world market could reduce the price of a gallon of gasoline by as much as 12 cents a gallon, a significant savings for consumers. American consumers could save about $5.8 billion per year by 2020, [according to an ICF study]. The study also found that by lifting the ban on crude exports could create up to 300,000 American jobs, well beyond oil-producing states. Eighteen states could gain more than 5,000 jobs each in 2020 from the export of U.S. crude oil. Every other major study agrees. …
Posted October 9, 2015
We’re still more than a year from the next presidential election, but already we’re hearing attacks on energy company earnings, rhetoric calibrated for the sole purpose of riling up the party base. It’s bad political theater that misleads the American public to score political points, distracting from a substantive debate on the right energy path for the country. This has come up most recently in the debate over lifting the 1970s-era ban on U.S. crude oil exports -- which was advanced with bipartisan U.S. House passage of a bill ending the export ban.
Yesterday, we looked at problems with the White House’s opposition to lifting the ban. Goodness knows, export opponents on Capitol Hill have their own faulty reasons. We’ve covered most of these before, including consumer impacts, national security and the oil imports vs. exports muddle.
Some of the biggest confusion comes from those who find it convenient to flay the oil and natural gas industry. Certainly, running around and repeating “Big Oil” over and over again plays well with people who don’t like fossil fuels and/or progress in general. Unfortunately, in their rush to attack those who supply products that the American people actually want and demand – products that power our economy and modern way of life – it’s the American people who take the hit.
Posted October 8, 2015
These things are true:
- The U.S. gets the majority of its energy from oil and natural gas, and is projected to continue to do so for decades.
- Since 2005 U.S. production of natural gas is up 43 percent.
- Since 2008 U.S. production of crude oil is up 88 percent.
- U.S. air quality continues to improve, with concentrations of carbon monoxide down 60 percent, ozone down 18 percent, lead 87 percent, nitrogen dioxide 43 percent, particulate matter 35 percent and sulfur dioxide 62 percent since 2000.
- The federal U.S. budget deficit for FY2015 was $435 billion.
- The U.S. trade deficit rose in August as exports hit a three-year low.
- Since 2008 our working age population has grown by over 16 million, while employment is up 8.5 million, leaving the U.S. at odds with trends in other countries.
- U.S. poverty and wages are stagnant, and it is getting harder for people to move beyond a minimum-wage job.
- Americans' trust in the federal government's ability to handle domestic problems has reached a new low.
These things are true, and thus, when presented with bipartisan legislation to reduce consumer fuel costs and the trade deficit while increasing U.S. investment, domestic crude oil production, GDP and government revenues and creating good paying jobs – all via U.S. crude oil exports – the White House obviously had no choice but to … threaten to veto it.
Posted September 29, 2015
U.S. oil and natural gas companies continue to lead in investing in the domestic economy, with five companies among the Progressive Policy Institute’s top 25 in 2014 U.S. capital expenditures.
ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum and Hess lead an energy production/mining sector that invested $43.6 billion in 2014, closely following the $48.7 invested by telecom/cable.
That’s great news for the U.S. economy which, as the PPI report details, needs investment to expand. PPI calls the top 25 its “investment heroes” because “their capital spending is helping to raise productivity and wages across the economy.”
Posted September 25, 2015
The Washington Post reports that a coalition of environmental activists wants the Obama administration to stop new federal leasing for oil and natural gas development. Notwithstanding the broad energy, economic and security benefits produced by America’s energy revolution, the opportunity to secure America’s future and significant air quality progress, their position is simple: Keep it in the ground.
The position also is extreme, anti-progress and anti-modern – though hardly surprising. There’s a small but loud element that has little interest in safe and responsible energy development or in constant improvement of operational and environmental safety. Rather, it opposes development altogether. Their recent push is the latest sign of an agenda that would put America in retreat economically and in the world.
What’s surprising is that these activists actually concede that Americans want oil and natural gas. They acknowledge consumer demand for oil and gas – affordable, reliable and portable fuels that make life less harsh, healthier and more prosperous – but they want government to choke off that demand by cutting supply.
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.
Posted August 28, 2015
When President Obama arrives in Alaska on Monday, he is expected to spend much of his time talking about climate. From a White House explainer on the president’s visit:
… President Obama will travel to Alaska and shine a spotlight on what Alaskans in particular have come to know: Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now.
What the president should hear is that the people of Alaska, one of the most energy resource-rich states in the Union, embrace both energy development and climate and environmental goals. They’ve lived that embrace and depend on it. They’re wary of Washington disrupting the relationship. While the Obama administration has approved Shell’s exploratory drilling in the waters off the state’s northern coast, it also has moved to exclude energy development in other state areas.
Posted August 25, 2015
Earlier this year at the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference in Washington, ClearView Energy Partners’ Christine Tezak described the Obama administration’s energy policy as “give a little, take a little,” further characterizing it as “transitioning from scarcity to adequacy.”
It’s accurate. Handed a generational opportunity by America’s energy revolution to advance U.S. economic and security interests, the administration has responded by alternately embracing oil and natural gas development (in limited ways) and working to corral it. Given the chance to build a comprehensive, long-term energy strategy to carry the United States safely into mid-century, the administration has played “small ball” on the energy development side while unleashing a flood of unnecessary, self-limiting proposals largely untethered to scientific and economic analysis.