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US investment in GHG mitigation technologies

12.01.2011  |  Thinnes, Billy,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX


According to a study conducted by T2 and Associates on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, North American investments in greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigating technologies are estimated to have totaled $225 billion between 2000 and 2010 (Fig. 1). Over the 2000–2010 period, the US-based oil and natural gas industry invested an estimated $108 billion in GHG mitigating technologies including shale gas, and $71 billion without shale gas investments, other US-based private industries invested an estimated $74 billion, and the US federal government invested an estimated $43 billion.

  Fig. 1. North America GHG mitigation
  investments divided by industry and
  government money from 2000 to 2010.
  The total invested in 2010 was $225 billion.  

Major investments by the oil and natural gas industry included shale gas (especially over the 2009–2010 period), efficiency improvements, including combined heat and power, and advanced technology for vehicles. Investments in wind, biofuels and solar were also made. Other private industries’ major investments included advanced technology vehicles, efficiency improvements in electricity generation, biofuels, wind and solar. The US federal government has spread investment across all technology categories with major investments in energy-efficient lighting, wind, solar, biofuels and basic research. It also made significant investments in renewables and efficiency during 2009 and 2010 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Emission reductions.

The EIA has recently reported that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the US in 2010 increased by 213 million metric tons, or 3.9%, compared to 2009. 2010 was preceded by declines in three out of the four previous years. US anthropogenic GHG emissions in 2009 were 5.8% below the 2008 total. The decrease in US CO2 emissions in 2009 resulted primarily from three factors: an economy in recession, a particularly hard-hit energy-intensive industry sector and a large drop in the price of natural gas that caused fuel switching away from coal to natural gas in the electric power sector. While the US economy declined by 2.6% in 2009, a 5.8% decrease in total GHG emissions meant that US GHG intensity improved by 3.3% from 2008 to 2009. In 2010, GDP grew by 3%, but emissions increased by 3.9%, largely as a result of a rebound in coal use for power generation. Since 1990, carbon dioxide emissions in the US have grown much more slowly than GDP; in 2007 emissions reached a peak of about 20% greater than 1990, but even after the 2010 increase, carbon dioxide emissions are only about 12% more than in 1990. GDP has increased by 63% over that same time period.

US- based oil and gas industry sources have reported direct emission reductions totaling 48.3 million metric tons CO2 equivalent for 2008 compared to 2007. The reduction of 48.3 million metric tons is equivalent to taking 9.7 million cars and light trucks off the road. Comparable figures for 2009 are a 52.8 million metric tons reduction and 10.6 million cars taken off the roads. For 2010, the reported reduction of 55.9 million metric tons equates to 11.2 million cars taken off the roads. For comparison, there are 246 million cars and trucks in the US, according to the US Department of Transportation.

Six leading technology investments.

The six leading emission mitigation technologies for private and public sector investment (Fig. 2), as measured by expenditure share, are: advanced technology vehicles, 22% ($49.5 billion); shale gas, 17% ($37.7 billion); other efficiency, 14% ($30.7 billion); ethanol, 8% ($18.4 billion); wind, 8% ($17.4 billion); and combined heat and power, 7% ($16.3 billion.) These top six technologies commanded 76% of the estimated total investments, or $170 billion over the 2000–2010 period in the North American market. All other technologies (including LNG, 6%, fugitive gas reduction, 5% and nuclear, 4%) combined comprised 24% of the estimated total investments.  HP

  Fig. 2. Leading GHG mitigation investments
  in North America from 2000 to 2010.  

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I am completely oposped to the imposition of regressive, right wing taxation which is what an increase in energy costs driven by government policy amounts to. The burden on the poorest is already difficult enough to bear. The idea that Co2 reduction will benefit society in any way is a fantasy spun by self interested parties. The science is a mess as a result of political interference and is not fit to base future policy on. Lomborg is right. If problems arise, address them as they appear.The individuals who are pushing this are Al Gore, Tony Blair, George Soros, Jeffrey Sachs and other assorted phony leftists. Sachs and Soros were basically responsible for the destruction of the Russian economy and its subsequent deliverance into the hands of seven oligarchs.James Hansen has been pushing this theory since the 1980s, we have to assume he is sincere, however his front organisation (RealClimate), run by his underling Gavin Schmidt appears to be a politically motivated campaigning organisation.Environmentalism has made great progress in making lives healthier. The next major step will be electric cars which will reduce urban pollution, irrespective of the method used to generate the power. Probably accelerated by the Co2 focus, it must be admitted.The reality of Co2 driven policy will be a massive increase in nuclear generated energy (six new stations planned in the UK), micro control over the economy by governments and banks on the back of carbon trading, a frightening increase in environmental damage and even more Co2 as manufacturing moves to India and China. The rapid creation of a billion or more new consumers plus the aforementioned fuel poverty worldwide as the price of all energy is increased by the loss of coal.All the new sustainable energy generation technologies should be welcomed and well off individuals can use them now. One day they will be economical for everyone.

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