The oil and gas industry has done more to cut U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through hydraulic fracturing than the Obama administration’s anti-fossil fuel policies, according to the industry’s top lobbyist.
“We are second to none in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The reduction of CO2 is due to a America’s 21st century energy renaissance driven by fracking,” Jack Gerard, the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, told reporters at a Tuesday press conference.
“Seventy percent of voters strongly support the role of natural gas in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. America is leading the world in the production of oil and natural gas and in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which are approaching 20 year lows,” he said.
U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen by 12 percent since their high in 2005 primarily due to fracking, according to reports published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which is part of the Department of Energy. Natural gas emits about half the CO2 of coal power, and is already cheaper than coal in many locations thanks to fracking.
“Let’s look at the reality of this U.S. model. We are leading the world in CO2 reductions today primarily due to clean burning natural gas which has revolutionized the industry,” Gerard said. “You don’t get to efficient and affordable natural gas by trying to impose over 100 new regulations on the industry. We can have further oil and natural gas development while increasing out environmental protection.”
Switching from coal to natural gas is responsible for 68 percent of CO2 emissions reductions, according to the EIA. Natural gas provided more electricity than coal power for every month between July and October of last year, according to data released in December by the EIA.
Fracking cut more CO2 emissions than solar or wind power, according to a 2015 study by the Manhattan Institute. Solar power is responsible for 1 percent of the decline in U.S. CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent. For every ton of CO2 cut by solar power, fracking cuts 13 tons.
“It hasn’t worked,” Gerad said of government regulations promoting green energy.
“This isn’t a theoretical or philosophical conversation. We’ve now demonstrated that market force has driven the U.S. to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions,” he said.
There is a statistically significant link and correlation between the dependence of a state’s economy on fracking and how much it reduces CO2 emissions, according to an analysis of government data published in May by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Fracking caused CO2 emissions to drop sharply in 47 states and Washington, D.C., in 2015, according to both Scientific American and other EIA reports.
“America’s natural gas industry could support as much as 2.3 million new and well paying jobs by 2030. The average annual salary of these jobs is about $100,000 dollars per year, more than double the average wage,”Gerard said. “Increased access to cheap and abundant American energy also reduces the cost of manufacturing.”
Fracking accounted for a mere 7 percent of total U.S. natural gas production in 2000 and produced 3.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day. By 2015, America got 69 percent of its natural gas from fracking while producing 79 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2015, according to the EIA. Fracking now provides more than half of America’s oil supply.
America surpassed Russia’s production of oil and natural gas early last year and is now the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of both. Today, America’s proven recoverable natural gas reserves are seven times larger than they were in 2014.
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