Government, the Oil Industry, and Climate Change

For years, climate change has been the topic of countless discussions. The science behind this environmental phenomenon is simple: Thermal energy from the earth getting trapped beneath the atmosphere by greenhouse gases (GHGs)—such as carbon dioxide—thus resulting in an increase in global temperatures. To members of the oil and gas industry, the concept of climate change is far from foreign.

Fossil fuel consumption is responsible for a majority of CO2 emissions. As stated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “The combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel to transport people and goods was the second largest source of CO2 emissions in 2016, accounting for about 34%  of total US CO2 emissions and 27% of total US greenhouse gas emissions,” (EPA).

Climate change has brought the industry face-to-face with an enormous challenge: To provide the world with a source of efficient and reliable energy while at the same time ensuring that CO2 emissions are mitigated, and that the health of the environment remains intact. Is it possible to produce fossil fuels, while at the same time reduce the carbon footprint left behind from consumption?

The answer is yes. How? For years, the industry has been working together with government to develop more efficient practices that mitigate the amount of CO2 developed during production. One of the ways it has done so is through the acceptance and integration of carbon pricing. Carbon pricing is the act of charging industries that produce carbon dioxide for the amount that it emitted during operations. Government actions like carbon pricing give industries incentive to lower emissions while keeping companies on a more level playing field.

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HSE Now is a source for news and technical information affecting the health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility discipline of the upstream oil and gas industry.