Energy Exchange

The twin crises of energy supply and climate have the same solution

Today’s energy system has become a liability we can no longer afford. As dependence on oil and gas restrains the response to Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this week issued yet another urgent warning that society is running out of time to avoid dangerous climate change caused by fossil fuel emissions.

Politicians and pundits say we must choose which problem to solve — protect the economy or protect the planet. But the twin crises of energy and climate have the same solution: the fastest possible transformation of our global energy system.

To those who want to prioritize the energy crisis, they must contend with the reality that there are no big spigots likely to be opened. Pre-Covid, oil and gas production were near record highs. Recent company announcements offer only marginal bumps in production, not enough to replace Russian oil or change prices at the pump.

And despite their rhetoric, neither producers nor their financiers show any interest in making the massive investments necessary to change these fundamentals.

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The truth about Russia’s war: Our addiction to oil gives Putin power

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is alarming and wrong — recognized by governments across the political spectrum as a dangerous assault on peace and stability.

How sad, then, that some columnists here in the United States are using it as an opportunity to spin up a partisan attack on the Biden administration’s energy policy.

Instead of recognizing the reality that the world’s addiction to fossil fuels empowers Putin, these columnists are making the bizarre claim that more clean energy is somehow to blame for Russian aggression.

But facts are stubborn things. The truth is, U.S. oil production is near record levels — which did nothing to stop Putin. For better or worse, the Biden administration has issued new permits for drilling on federal lands at a faster clip than the notoriously pro-oil Trump administration.

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EU must take on its methane problem before turning to hydrogen

Facing dangerous levels of warming, Europe aspires to achieve a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The oil and gas industry want us to believe natural gas can play a constructive role in this green energy future. And right now, these companies are lining up behind the idea that European Union policymakers should invest heavily in new incentives for hydrogen as a way to store and deliver energy for transport and the electric system.

Hydrogen separated from water using renewable electricity — so called ‘green hydrogen’ — might be economically viable someday. But for now, the cheapest way to make hydrogen is by converting natural gas. Natural gas is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions; it also consists mostly of methane, which is itself a greenhouse pollutant, with over 80 times the near-term warming power of carbon dioxide.

When it comes to climate change and achieving a net-zero carbon future, natural gas solves nothing unless both carbon dioxide and methane emissions associated with its production, distribution and use are fully controlled. Opening up a whole new market for converting gas to hydrogen without clearly establishing how those emissions will be dealt with would only make a serious problem much worse.

The European Commission recently released two major energy policy strategies in which methane and role of natural gas are at issue.

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The energy job market is in trouble. Here’s how we fix it.

The coronavirus is inflicting a heavy toll on America: Over 100,000 dead, almost two million infected, and more than 40 million unemployed. Beating the virus is the top priority. But we also need to put people back to work as fast as safety allows. How we go about that now will determine our nation’s economic future for decades.

To achieve lasting prosperity, we need to rebuild better by investing in jobs that restart the economy, improve the environment and move us to a cleaner future.

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Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Climate, Energy Efficiency, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy / Language: / Comments are closed

Is the oil and gas industry serious about climate?

Hundreds of diplomats and heads of state will converge on the United Nations this week to discuss urgent actions to prevent catastrophic climate change. Just a few blocks away, CEOs and other top executives of the world’s largest oil and gas companies will host a meeting of their own, where they will also be talking about the climate, aiming to showcase the industry’s efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s just a 10-minute walk between the two, but the symbolic journey is more like a thousand miles — and oil and gas producers are still struggling with the first steps. Their New York gathering, part of something called the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), could reveal important signs as to how serious they are about picking up the pace.

That challenge is stark: The world’s economy needs to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by the end of this century if we are to have better-than-even odds of limiting warming to two degrees. Net-zero means not putting more carbon into the atmosphere than we can take out. To hit the global goal, Europe, the U.S. and other advanced economies must get to net-zero by 2050.

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Critic misstates EDF views on New York/New Jersey pipeline, overlooks larger climate win

Industrial pipelineA blogger has made the false allegation that Environmental Defense Fund is advocating for the construction of a proposed natural gas pipeline under New York harbor.

This is simply wrong. EDF is not advocating for the pipeline in question, known as the Williams NESE pipeline. We made that point clear two weeks ago in a blog of our own. The blogger, Rob Galbraith, simply ignores this.

A first-ever look at climate impacts

Mr. Galbraith is responding to a study prepared by consultants M.J. Bradley & Associates, who were hired by the utility National Grid to assess the climate impacts of the pipeline over time. Read More »

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