The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Study: Industry is a Leader in Making Our Air Cleaner

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 15, 2018

A new study by T2 and Associates quantifies natural gas and oil’s leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – through its investments in renewables and other low-carbon technologies and cutting its own emissions – resulting in cleaner air for the country. In all, industry directly invested more than $108 billion in zero- and low-carbon technologies between 2000 and 2016. This is on top of the carbon emissions-reducing benefits of from increased use of abundant domestic natural gas from shale. API’s Kyle Isakower, vice president for regulatory and economic policy, briefed reporters on the study during a conference call. Isakower:

“[T]he natural gas and oil industry is not only meeting the [nation’s] energy needs today but also doing the research, the technology and implementing technologies that are going to continue to meet our energy needs well into the future – and reduce GHG emissions in the process. … We think we are clearly part of the solution.”

Isakower’s prepared remarks follow:

America’s natural gas and oil industry is a leader in making our air cleaner through increased investments in renewables and other low-carbon technologies, according to a new study that we are releasing today.

Between 2000 and 2016, the natural gas and oil industry directly invested more than $108 billion dollars in zero- and low-carbon emissions technologies, according to the study by T2 and Associates. That’s more than double the investments of each of the next two industry sectors over the same period – and is in addition to surging domestic natural gas production that also is playing a leading role in reducing U.S. emissions.

[Below, this chart from the study shows natural gas and oil’s total GHG-mitigating investments, including those in natural gas from shale.]

emissions_investments_overview

Here’s another important finding of the study: One of every $6 dollars invested in renewables and other non-hydrocarbon technologies in North America since 2000 has come from the natural gas and oil industry. This includes funding for biomass, ethanol and renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal technologies. In fact, over this time period, natural gas and oil and electric utilities were the No. 1 private-sector investors in renewable energy behind the federal government.

corrected_nonhydro_investments_by_investor

These investments have been fundamentally important to our country’s broad effort to reduce emissions. And our industry is cutting its own emissions as well.  In 2016 alone, our industry reported its largest GHG reduction since we’ve been tracking it – equal to the carbon that would be captured by more than 5.4 billion, 10-year-old evergreen trees.

The study shows that the natural gas and oil industry is a leader in the development and deployment of GHG-reducing technologies. It shows that our nation can lead the world in energy production, strengthen our economy and create good-paying jobs while leading the world in the reduction of carbon emissions. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are at 25-year lows due to increased natural gas use while global emissions have risen 50 percent over the same time frame.

Today’s study is proof that growth, progress and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.


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. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. 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 live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.