With New OGCI Accord, Global Oil & Gas Companies Step Into Climate Solutions Game

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a group of 10 oil and gas CEOs representing 25 percent of the industry’s global production, came together in London today to sign an agreement committing to invest $1 billion over the next ten years to accelerate commercial deployment of low carbon energy technologies. Their primary focus will be carbon capture and storage and reducing oil and gas methane emissions.

Not coincidentally, this accord comes the same day that the Paris Climate Agreement enters into force.

Is $1 billion enough? Of course not. The emission reduction goals the world has set in Paris require nothing less than a fundamental transformation of our global energy system. We must dramatically reduce the total amount of fossil fuels we use – coal, oil, and natural gas – and dramatically ramp up deployment of renewable resources – solar, wind – and aggressively pursue energy efficiency and vehicle electrification.

Jeremy Legget, chairman of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, points out that “the world has to mobilize trillions of dollars a year for clean energy” within a 10 year time frame if the Paris goals are to be realized. Collectively, the ten OGCI CEOs signing today’s accord already plan to spend more than $90 Billion in capital this year alone just doing business as usual, so even by the standards of their own capital budgets, a $1 billion commitment over a decade is a drop in the bucket. Read More »

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Oil and Gas Industry Leaders Begin Waking Up, Stepping Forward on Methane

Vocal opposition from parts of the oil and gas business against policies to limit the industry’s heat-trapping methane emissions can sometimes obscure emerging efforts by some companies to tackle one of the sector’s biggest environmental and reputation challenges – and one that’s becoming ever more prominent by the day.

But not everybody in oil and gas is digging in their heels. In fact, there’s a growing list of companies working in various ways to start solving the problem. None of these initiatives alone is likely to get us where we need to be. But together they’re helping pave the way toward a more comprehensive answer that levels the playing field by creating sensible performance standards for everyone in the industry.

One of these emerging efforts is the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, a voluntary effort to improve emissions reporting and accelerate best practices to reduce methane. Launched at the 2014 United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit, OGMP includes BP, Eni, Pemex, PTT, Repsol, Southwestern Energy, Statoil, and Total. The companies agreed to seek out ways to survey, assess and disclose their methane emissions, and find new opportunities to reduce them. Read More »

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These Energy Efficiency Laws Give New York City a Fresh Start on Power Savings

eebillssigning_103116The New York City Council has an excellent environmental track record, and I’m pleased to say that most recently it has passed a group of bills tackling energy efficiency in buildings, adding to its stellar standing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week signed a package of laws developed by the City Council that address energy efficiency in thousands of buildings citywide. Buildings account for nearly three-quarters of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, which makes buildings crucial to New York City’s goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. In fact, the mayor’s office estimates that these bills will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 250,000 metric tons throughout the city, and create an estimated 100 jobs by spurring retrofits in 16,000 buildings. I attended the bill signing on October 31st, and am proud to say that Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been working closely with both the mayor’s office and the City Council to get to this point, along with our partners, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Urban Green Council.

These new laws – which affect 57 percent of New York City’s buildings (a higher percentage than any other U.S. city) – are important because they mandate that buildings track their energy use. Tracking use will inform necessary energy-efficiency upgrades that will have lasting impacts and ultimately improve the city’s environment and New Yorkers’ public health. Read More »

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Aliso Canyon Challenges Underscore Need to Realign California Energy Markets

rp_Aliso-Canyon.pngYesterday, the Southern California Gas Company filed for permission to resume operations through approved wells at its Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, saying it has completed key safety tests. The facility has been offline over the last year, after it sprung one of the largest gas leaks ever recorded.

Efforts to bring the facility online – and the challenges for the region’s electricity system if Aliso stays offline – underscore the need to address these issues from a broader, longer term perspective.

In addition to supplying gas to homes and businesses, the giant storage field served 17 major gas fired electric generating plants in the region. When a link as important as Aliso Canyon fails, the reliability implications for the electric grid are serious. Read More »

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Home is Where the Smart Is: First-of-its-Kind Study Reveals Importance of Smart Technology and Low-Water Clean Energy

Dustin McCartney, senior data analyst at Pecan Street, co-authored this post.

Have you ever thought about how much water your dryer needs to dry your clothes? (And no, I don’t mean your washing machine.)

Every appliance in your home has a water intensity, or the amount of water needed to make and send the electricity that powers it. On the flip side, all water – like in your faucet, toilet, and irrigation system – has an energy intensity, the amount of electricity needed to treat, distribute, or heat the water. Chances are, you probably haven’t given much consideration to the water intensity of your home energy, or the energy intensity of your water. There hasn’t been any data at the household level – until now.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently teamed up with Pecan Street, Inc. to examine these combined metrics in a new study. Pecan Street, a research group running the most extensive energy-tracking in U.S. history, analyzed the energy and water costs of a group of Austin homes and their appliances.

By gathering granular data on how much energy and water households use, as well as their associated energy and water intensities, this study reinforces the need for smart technology to help us better understand and manage energy and water. Moreover, in order to safeguard water supplies, the analysis demonstrates the importance of powering our lives with low-water clean energy resources. Read More »

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How Sensible BLM and EPA Methane Rules Can Mean Millions to Tribal Communities

By Daniel Roda-Stuart, Fellow
rp_NatlGasFlares_142558250_Photos-RF-300x197.jpg

With oil and natural gas production, it’s not only the industry that benefits monetarily. Mineral rights holders (the people who actually own the oil and gas deep below the earth’s surface) benefit too. Depending on where you look in the United States, who owns these mineral rights varies. In many places those minerals are owned by individuals and in other situations it’s the federal or state government.

In the Western U.S., it can often be Native American tribes that own the rights to these resources. And the revenue from the production of these tribal resources can be invaluable for funding education, health care, and other programs. So, what happens when faulty equipment and poor practices allow valuable natural gas to escape to the atmosphere before making it to the sales line? It can result in millions of dollars of lost royalty revenue for Native American tribes.

A recent EDF analysis focuses on the value of this wasted gas and the financial impacts to the Northern Ute tribe in the Uintah Basin of Northeastern Utah. Read More »

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