The American Petroleum Institute once again tries to portray itself as a climate saver, but it isn’t doing so convincingly.
On Wednesday, the dominant fossil fuel lobbying group held an hourlong press conference about its annual State of American Energy report during which various API executives touted the fact that the United States has maintained its position as a net exporter of oil and gas despite the general chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic; the “growing diversity” of the oil and gas workforce; and the “spirit of innovation” that the industry brings to the pressing dilemma of climate change.
This last point might seem surprising considering that the organization’s driving motivation was to block legislative action to address climate changes. However, API and other fossil fuel business organizations have made recent moves to reform ( and in some cases reverse ) stances on certain market-based climate policies. (The operative word being “market-based.”) Big Oil has supported carbon pricing systems and carbon capture technology – neither of these require fossil fuel companies to change their business models.
API officials spoke up during the address about the American fossil fuel industry’s use of carbon capture technology to reduce their emissions. Carbon capture is the process of trapping carbon emissions at the source of pollution (e.g. power plants) to be used or stored for another purpose.
This mechanism is a useful tool for massive emission reductions that are needed to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming. But it should not be relied upon too much A recent report by the Government Accountability Office detailed the overall failures of that technology so far — and the ways in which it provides new opportunities for fossil fuel extraction. As Molly Taft wrote for Gizmodo on Wed