We've said energy shouldn't be a zero-sum game - that pursuing some energy resources shouldn't come at the expense of others. America needs all the energy it can develop. Most Americans seem to recognize this, and the notion that energy winners and losers are being picked probably is a factor in new polling that shows less than 14 percent think the country is on the right energy track.
That said, a new study by T2 and Associates shows the oil and natural gas industry is doing more than talking about an all-of-the-above energy strategy, having invested $71 billion in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2010.
That's almost as much as the rest of private industry combined ($74 billion) and way more than the federal government ($43 billion) over the same period.
Investments include $9 billion in non-hydrocarbon technologies, such as wind and biofuels, or about 20 percent of all dollars invested in those technologies.
In addition to the $71 billion figure, the industry invested $37 billion in clean-burning natural gas from shale.
In a conference call with reporters last week, Kyle Isakower, API's vice president of regulatory and economic policy, highlighted the T2 study's key elements:
"The oil and natural gas industry is helping to develop the alternative technologies that will play an increasing and important role in our energy future - even as it continues supplying the oil and natural gas that government projections show will be our nation's primary energy source for decades to come. Second, we're having an impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Our study includes data that show our industry directly reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost 56 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent for 2010 compared with 2009. ... The reductions equate to taking more than 11 million cars off the road."
That's the right approach: Developing energy technologies for the future while recognizing that oil and natural gas also will be part of that future.