Sunday, November 21, 2021

Deborah Gordon's "No Standard Oil"

Deborah Gordon is a senior principal in the Climate Intelligence Program at RMI where she leads the Oil and Gas Solutions Initiative. Gordon also serves as a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University and the principal investigator for the Oil Climate Project. Her research has spearheaded the development of the Oil Climate Index Plus Gas (OCI+), a first-of-its-kind analytic tool that compares the lifecycle climate impacts of global oil and gas resources.

Gordon applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, No Standard Oil: Managing Abundant Petroleum in a Warming World, and reported the following:
On page 99, I argue that the first place to drive down greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector is in the industry’s own operations. This page captures the main message in my book. Consumers cannot simply demand less to solve the world’s energy and climate problems. We’ve tried this single-handed approach for decades yet oil and gas use and emissions continue to rise.

Supply-side oil and gas operations—production, processing, refining, and shipping—have not been aggressively pursued even though reducing these emissions sources are low-hanging fruit for immediate climate action. A lot of energy (mostly fossil fuels) is consumed pumping, separating, heating, cooling, and converting oil and gas even before various petroleum products make their way into cars, planes, roadways, and plastics. I come to the same conclusion as the International Energy Agency: “minimizing emissions from core oil and gas operations should be a first-order priority for all, whatever the [clean energy] transition pathway.”

No Standard Oil stresses that oil and gas are abundant and are not going away anytime soon. Moreover, there are large differences in different assets’ climate intensities (measured by their emissions in an equivalent barrel). And, in a rapidly warming world, these emissions differences are large enough to matter. The Oil Climate Index Plus Gas (OCI+), a first-of-its-kind tool that assembles a series of models to estimate the lifecycle GHGs from the oil and gas sector fills this knowledge gap. Climate intelligence generated by the OCI+ informs industry, policymakers, and civil society about where in the supply chain the greatest emissions are, how best to cut them, how to factor emissions into financial decision making, how to design government regulations, and which assets deserve activists' attention. Targeting supply-side actions offers the best chance of reducing oil and gas emissions in line with international targets to stop the Earth from runaway warming in the decade ahead.
Learn more about No Standard Oil at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Two Billion Cars.

--Marshal Zeringue