June 25, 2018: Voluntarily Working to Reduce Emissions
On June 21st, The New York Times published an article about oil and gas industry methane leaks, the bulk of the article was based upon a study provided to them by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and very one-sided. Ironically even Steven Hamburg, the author of the study said that regarding numbers “You can cherry-pick either way”, and we are convinced that the study and subsequently the Times article did just that.
ONE Future members have been actively working to reduce methane emissions for more than two years as a coalition, but independently far longer than that. The coalition has actively worked with EPA to develop a voluntary, performance-based program to accomplish the goal of 1% of methane intensity or less by 2025 and by all measures, we are on track. We agree with others such as Energy In Depth and The American Gas Association (AGA) that the recent study by EDF appears to take a compilation of studies to create a false answer. We disagree strongly that voluntary programs cannot work. ONE Future members will be reporting their actual emissions later this year and are working with EPA on the reporting template. ONE Future believes that looking forward and using methane intensity is the superior reporting standard because it provides real numbers, not a compilation of numbers.
ONE Future members recently worked closely with the National Energy Technology Laboratory to study the effects of methane emissions on the natural gas value chain. The results of that study showed that the U.S. emission rate for the entire value chain was 1.6%. In addition, using the ONE Future protocol results in a 0.67% emission rate which makes our target very attainable. The EDF study does not explain/reconcile how there can be such a large difference in emission rates, with the exception of the “cherry-picking” comment.
The bottom line is this, ONE Future and other members of the natural gas value chain are working to reduce methane emissions. Picking a year as a standard such as the EDF appears to do is only one small part of the problem. ONE Future believes that methane emissions have to be reduced so in that we agree with EDF. The study claims a high emission number in 2015 and while we don’t necessarily agree how they arrived at that number, what we know is that ONE Future members have been and continue to reduce emissions and will hit our goal of 1%.