Though the oil and gas industry has often been painted as the cause of climate change, many oil and gas companies have been actively working towards a healthier environment and energy future. Oil and gas companies support the reduction of climate change through increased energy efficiency and a move away from more harmful energy resources such as coal. In recent years, reliance on coal has been reduced significantly and the importance of natural gas has grown, largely due to new oil and gas recovery methods.
Oil and Gas Companies on Climate Change
87% of energy usage is currently derived from fossil fuels. Any significantly decreased reliance on fossil fuels is unfeasibly throughout many countries and industries. The technology is not yet available to make hydropower, solar power, and wind power a large scale alternative, and many technologies are now arranged based primarily on fossil fuels. Rather than attempting to remove reliance on fossil fuels entirely, oil and gas industry organizations are attempting to shift away from forms of fossil fuel that lead to greater emissions. For the most part, this involved a shift away from coal and towards alternative fossil fuels.
Shifting from Coal to Natural Gas
Not only is natural gas one of the most affordable of the fossil fuels, it’s also better for the environment than many others. In fact, natural gas produces half as many emissions as coal. With a plentiful and affordable supply of natural gas, energy emissions could be significantly reduced without losing the benefit of plentiful fossil fuels. Coal additionally costs more energy to recover and is more costly to transport. Natural gas is considered to be preferable to other alternative fuel supplies, such as diesel. Today, vehicles and other traditionally diesel or coal powered devices are being developed to take advantage of natural gas.
Increasing Energy Efficiency While Decreasing Climate Change
Many issues surrounding energy use and climate change are debatable, but there is one area in which everyone agrees: increased energy efficiency is better for the environment. Oil and gas companies believe in the conservation of both energy and the environment, and consequently they support energy efficient measures. Many oil and gas companies are finding new ways to support energy efficiency through their own private initiatives and funding.
The Role of Hydraulic Fracturing in Climate Change
Hydraulic fracturing has vastly increased the amount of natural gas available for recovery. This alone has reduced global reliance on coal, and can continue to do so long-term. By making natural gas a more affordable and plentiful resource, fracking is making it a more popular fossil fuel. In the United States, natural gas was able to surpass coal usage for the very first time in early 2015, and natural gas use is still increasing. A shift to natural gas would slow climate change until which time other technology could become available as an alternative to fossil fuels. Though alternative fuels are an attractive option, there is presently no large scale alternative option that would be feasible for widespread adoption.
Oil and gas companies are presently working towards a clean energy future; they are simply using a more feasible approach. Though alternative energy resources are available, none of them are as yet productive and affordable enough to truly replace fossil fuels. Instead, oil and gas companies are working to limit reliance upon fossil fuels that have increased emissions, while promoting environmentally conscious options such as natural gas.