With the Biden administration all but embracing the ludicrous benchmarks of the “Green New Deal,” it’s important to remember that this far-left environmental blueprint remains unpopular with many politicians and the public at large.
Biden himself is fresh from last month’s posturing with world leaders, celebrities, and activists at the U.N. sponsored COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, where he made it clear the U.S. will take a back seat to no nation in strangling a domestic economy with feckless environmental hokum.
The “big” announcement from COP26 this year was 100 countries pledging to reduce methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels within the next decade. This global pledge spurred Biden’s most significant climate policy announcement yet, a new regulation out of EPA to limit methane emissions.
For anyone who has been paying attention, none of this should come as a surprise. Environmental groups and the mainstream media have been setting the stage for this policy announcement for months.
However, as is often the case with ballyhooed pronouncements on climate action, the alleged facts and research peddled as justification for draconian action are at best incomplete and at worst, shockingly deceitful. What is revealed is merely another example of the environmental left’s sustained assault on American oil and gas.
In response, our organization released an exhaustive policy brief that breaks down and exposes the ecosystem that allows the Biden administration to bog down the oil and gas industry with crippling restrictions, even as domestic energy prices soar and Biden begs OPEC to pump more oil our way.
Democrats rely on a network of environmental organizations, such as the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economics (Ceres) and M.J. Bradley Associates, to provide the intellectual cover for their climate policies.
In reality, these are not impartial, objective climate experts but committed ideologues with an agenda. Ceres, for example, has received millions from some very well known progressive foundations with a long history of attacking the oil and gas industry, including the Tides Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Climate Works Foundation.
It’s no surprise then that the facts and data that these groups rely on is often cherry picked to tilt the landscape. Earlier this year, M.J. Bradley Associates, along with Ceres and Clean Air Task Force, released a study called, “Benchmarking Methane Emissions: Oil and Natural Gas Production in the United States.” It relies on greenhouse gas emissions data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which the study even admits has “limitations.” Instead of actual data, the EPA relies on emission factors to estimate total emissions.
In other words, they guess.
It’s highly likely that most people who consumed this information about methane emissions read about the study in a mainstream media outlet, like The New York Times, rather than the actual study. Conveniently, when mainstream reporters wrote about methane emissions, they failed to point out the limitations that EPA and the actual study highlight.
So what’s really going on with methane emissions in the United States? According to the EPA, methane emissions from oil and natural gas production actually declined by 23% while natural gas production increased by more than 50% over a nearly 30 year period.
Producers are finding cleaner and more efficient ways to produce natural gas and keep methane emissions under control. Since 1990, methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas well completions have decreased by more than 85%.
It has become increasingly easy for mainstream media outlets to focus on climate events like COP26 and rely on misleading studies from groups like Ceres and M.J. Bradley Associates, all while ignoring facts and data that conflict with the prevailing narrative that the oil and gas industry is an environmental criminal in need of handcuffs.
It is a shame and more than a little ironic that the activists and organizations on the left who purportedly care so much about the environment are so willing to muddy the waters regarding the facts, and pollute the debate with deception.
Gerard Scimeca is an attorney, chairman and co-founder of CASE, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, a free-market oriented consumer advocacy organization.