Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 16, 2016
When it comes to making actual progress on climate through the reduction of carbon emissions, basically there are two groups: talkers and doers.
Talkers spend much of their time filibustering on the need to reduce emissions through central government planning – bureaucratic programs, new layers of regulation, onerous pricing mechanisms and more – while criticizing those who don’t rush to embrace Washington climate think.
As for the doers, they’re already reducing emissions. Our industry is part of this second group.
Posted May 24, 2016
Compelling video interview earlier this month with Chevron Chairman and CEO John S. Watson by the Wall Street Journal – headlined the “Morality of Oil.”
This is especially timely, given the claims of some industry opponents that affordable, reliable, portable energy somehow isn’t a public good, despite some important facts to the contrary.
Posted May 10, 2016
We’ve written a number of posts recently on U.S. climate gains from increased use of clean-burning natural gas (see here, here and here). Domestic natural gas is the main reason the U.S. is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions – underscored by government data this week showing that energy-associated emissions in 2015 were 12 percent lower than 2005 levels.
Yet, some continue to miss the role natural gas is playing in U.S. climate progress. Instead of declaring victory, some continue to rally, protest and campaign against natural gas and its infrastructure – opposing the very thing that is achieving what they want. Unfortunately, they’re impacting public policy along the way.
Nowhere is there a better illustration of this negative impact than in New York state.
Posted May 9, 2016
With new government data showing that U.S. carbon emissions in 2015 were 12 percent below 2005 levels, it might be time for some to take “yes” for an answer – that yes, on reducing carbon emissions, the United States is showing the way for the rest of the world with abundant, clean-burning natural gas.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says despite the fact the U.S. economy was 15 percent larger in 2015 than it was in 2005 (inflation-adjusted numbers), energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were lower last year than they were 11 years ago.
Posted April 21, 2016
U.S. Senate passage of energy legislation is an important step forward in the effort to sustain and grow a U.S. energy revolution that’s making America more energy secure, benefiting consumers and helping the environment.
For the first time since the energy renaissance materialized, both houses of Congress have passed bipartisan, comprehensive energy-assisting legislation. The initiatives signal a commitment to matching energy policy with the new U.S. energy reality, one in which the United States is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas. They also suggest lawmakers recognize that, on a bipartisan basis, voting Americans support more domestic energy development – as well as candidates who do the same.
Louis Finkel, API executive vice president, talked about the advancing legislation and the opportunities that are being provided by American energy during a conference call with reporters.
Posted April 11, 2016
Two questions posed by the Times: How to explain a departure from the historical linkage between economic growth and increased carbon emissions? And, can the decoupling of economic growth and rising emissions be a model for the rest of the world?
The explanation isn’t all that complicated. We’ve talked about it for a number of months (see here and here). It’s natural gas. The increased use of clean-burning, domestically produced natural gas is the main reason the United States leading the world in reducing carbon emissions during a period of economic growth.
Posted April 5, 2016
Last week EPA launched a new program it hopes will encourage U.S. oil and natural gas companies to voluntarily focus on reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. EPA:
The Methane Challenge Program will provide partner companies with a platform to make company-wide commitments to cut emissions from sources within their operations by implementing a suite of best management practices within five years. Transparency is a fundamental part of the program, and partner achievements will be tracked by submitting annual data directly to EPA.
Two points: First, our industry is already on it, deploying technologies, innovation and yes, best management practices, effectively capturing methane from energy operations. And it’s succeeding. EPA data shows that since 2005 methane emissions from field production of natural gas have dropped 38 percent, and emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have dropped 79 percent – at a time of surging natural gas production.
It’s happening because energy companies are working hard to collect methane, the main component of natural gas, for the market. Indeed, the abundance of domestic natural gas is helping lower consumer energy costs for U.S. consumers – including those in the Northeast, which historically has paid more for electricity than other parts of the country – and increasing average annual household disposable income by $1,200.
Posted March 22, 2016
We’ve read the articles about how affordable natural gas – much of it from the Marcellus Shale in next-door Pennsylvania – has benefitted New York and specifically New York City. So it’s puzzling to hear about a recent effort in New York to block expansion of an Upstate natural gas storage plant in the name of a “climate emergency,” as one activist put it – puzzling because natural gas is doing more to reduce U.S. emissions than any other fuel. The New York Times reports:
“The irony is this,” said Phil West, a spokesman for Spectra Energy, whose pipeline projects, including those in New York State, have come under attack. “The shift to additional natural gas use is a key contributor to helping the U.S. reduce energy-related emissions and improve air quality.”
Unfortunately, this is an example of out-of-the-mainstream activism at work, threatening to roll back important American progress on emissions that has occurred during a period of economic growth and rising domestic energy output. We say this is out of the mainstream because we reckon the real alarm would sound among New Yorkers if access to affordable natural gas got harder for lack of infrastructure – pipelines, pumping stations, storage installations and the like.
Posted March 4, 2016
Just recently saw this article on National Geographic.com, suggesting the United States made a significant shift in its energy economy in 2015:
Consider what happened last year alone. The amount of electricity from coal-fired power plants hit a record low while that from natural gas generators hit a record high. Also, renewable energy added the most new power to the electric grid, and annual carbon emissions reached a 20-year low.
First, a reminder that new power capacity added to the grid doesn’t translate directly to new power. Below, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that in terms of electricity generation change (from 2014 to 2015) at utility-scale facilities and including distributed solar, natural gas led in net generation:
That’s not knocking renewables, just an illustration of today’s energy reality and a reminder of the oft-overlooked energy, economic and climate benefits accruing to the United States from increasing natural gas use.
Posted February 8, 2016
It has been clear for months that the Obama administration has lost interest in a true “all-of-the-above” approach to the nation’s energy – one that is being led by surging oil and natural gas production right here at home. Consider:Despite multiple State Department reviews filled with science showing that rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline would result in higher emissions, the president killed the project and the 42,000 jobs it would support during its construction phase. Despite the fact U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are near 20-year lows, the administration is pushing ahead with its Clean Power Plan that favors only certain kinds of renewable energy instead of letting states to freely choose lower-emissions sources while ensuring affordable and reliable energy for consumers. Although methane emissions from natural gas production are dropping, EPA and the Bureau of Land Management are moving forward with additional layers of regulation that could raise the cost of natural gas production and chill investments needed to bring cleaner-burning gas to market. Despite bipartisan agreement that the Renewable Fuel Standard is a failure – that mandates for increasing ethanol use actually increases greenhouse gas emissions – EPA continues to push for more ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.
The administration’s latest anti-energy revolution proposal is an ill-conceived plan to slap a $10-per-barrel fee or tax on crude oil that could increase the cost of a barrel of crude by 30 percent and add 25 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline.