Energy Exchange

Why Texas’ attempt to delay commonsense methane protections will only shoot itself – and the US oil and gas industry – in the foot.

By Elizabeth Lieberknecht

Texas’ primary oil and gas regulator, the Texas Railroad Commission, took the unfortunate — though not surprising — step last month of requesting legal action against EPA’s recently finalized commonsense methane rules. This is unfortunate because, once implemented, these rules will protect public health, limit climate change and energy waste. It is not surprising because the RRC (Texas’ oddly named oil and gas regulatory agency) has shown little interest in trying to rein in Texas’ massive problem with oil and gas methane pollution. Texas emits more oil and gas methane pollution than any other state. Despite repeated calls for more oversight from the state agency, the RRC continues to regularly approve permits to flare natural gas, a leading cause of methane pollution.  

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Opportunities for hydrogen tax credit rules to address climate impact blind spots

Update 3/27/2024:  EDF gave testimony at the public hearing on the 45V treasury guidance. See testimony here and full public comments submitted here.

The Biden administration recently unveiled the long-awaited draft of its rules governing tens of billions of dollars’ worth of tax incentives that will greatly influence America’s nascent hydrogen economy and the extent to which the emerging industry delivers promised climate benefits.

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Unpacking EPA’s final methane protections

Last week, EPA Administrator Regan announced final standards to cut methane and harmful local air pollution from both new and existing facilities in the oil and gas industry.  

Diverse stakeholders ranging from major oil-producing states like New Mexico to tribal air agencies to oil and gas producers and methane mitigation companies have all voiced support for the final standards. 

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Latest commitment from UN aviation agency holds promise for the future of sustainable aviation fuels

Sunset at the airport. Refueling of the airplane before flight, aircraft maintenance fuel at the airport

Last week, the third Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, also known as CAAF/3, hosted by the International Civil Aviation Organization — the United Nations agency charged with international aviation cooperation — committed to a more sustainable future for global aviation by adopting the new ICAO Global Framework for Cleaner Fuels. This development builds on ICAO 2022 General Assembly’s adoption of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Three ways EPA’s upcoming methane regulations will help slow climate change and protect public health

In a move that will protect communities across the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon finalize new rules to reduce methane and other toxic, smog-forming  pollution from the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that’s fueling much of the climate crisis due to the excessive warming it creates during its lifetime in the atmosphere. Methane makes up about 12% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., but it’s responsible for over 25% of current warming.

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Known Unknown: Current hydrogen leak estimates vary by up to 100-fold. We need to know more before betting the farm

Hydrogen renewable energy production pipeline - hydrogen gas for clean electricity solar and windturbine facility.

Hydrogen renewable energy production pipeline – H2 can leak easily through joints and valves (if they are not correctly tightened).

By Sofia Esquivel Elizondo

Enthusiasm for hydrogen as a climate-friendly fuel of the future is everywhere. Hundreds of hydrogen energy projects worth more than $500 billion have been announced, and The International Energy Agency says hydrogen demand could increase sixfold by 2050.

Scientists, though, are confident that this leak-prone gas can warm the climate when it escapes into the atmosphere. Just how much warming will depend on how much hydrogen is emitted, and that remains a giant question mark. That’s why Environmental Defense Fund set out to identify the climate risks of future hydrogen emissions and help develop technology that can detect how much hydrogen escapes from today’s infrastructure.

EDF’s groundbreaking 2022 study explained how unchecked hydrogen emissions can severely undercut the climate benefit of switching from fossil fuels to hydrogen. We found that if it’s not done right, using hydrogen could be worse for the near-term climate than the fossil fuels it would replace.

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