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Look for the real thing
A greener oil industry is possible
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This month, a United Nations climate panel reported that the world is going to face climate disruptions for decades to come – or longer. The report, which is nearly 4,000 pages long, ads that human activities are “unequivocally” causing some of the change and humans could limit some of the inevitable impact by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

It states, “Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s summary of the report states that “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

“Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe,” the authors wrote. “Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened.”

And, “The deadly heat waves, gargantuan hurricanes and other weather extremes that are already happening will only become more severe.”

Kansas senator Mike Thompson (R-Shawnee) responded to that by presenting a seminar, “The Weaponization of Climate Change,” at the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association meeting. He compared climate science to Nazi propaganda (note to politicians: could you please stop using the ‘N’ word?) and indicated Kansas oil and gas producers question the reality of human-caused climate change and the motivations of climate activists. 

“Science has just become a weapon,” he said. “So we basically turned real science into ‘we’re all gonna die in 12 years,’ OK. And unfortunately, this is the culmination of the dumbing down of America. People buy this stuff. They hear it on the news. They think global warming is real. ‘We’re all gonna die.’ We’re turning away from sources that we know are reliable, the oil and gas, nuclear, coal, everything that we rely on to keep our lights on 24/7 with this, because of course, we have to save the planet with green energy, which doesn’t work.”

Sen. Thompson did not have to take an anti-science stance to show his support for the oil and gas industry. The industry itself has been aware of climate change for decades and has contributed to the research on the future of energy. The industry has continued to broaden its efforts to diversify in technologies that include expanding renewable energy and becoming more efficient in production. In short, oil companies themselves can prosper while adopting a “greener” mindset.

When it comes to daily life, most people can’t afford an automobile that runs on electricity and most of us aren’t willing to give up warm houses in the winter and cool houses in the summer to reduce energy consumption. We know that cutting production without reducing demand isn’t a wise move.

In Kansas, we want independent producers to thrive. KIOGA is seen as one of the good guys because oil and gas contribute to our way of life and provide jobs. That doesn’t mean that environmentalists are the bad guys, and we hope people who heard Thompson’s rant know this.

We should know that this is an industry directly related to the challenge of climate change. It is an industry big enough to make a positive contribution to the challenge.

Aramco has a webpage that claims, “We support the Paris Agreement’s goal to hold the global average temperature increase to below 2°C. Reducing emissions to address climate change, while meeting the world’s energy needs, remains the biggest single challenge of this century.”

That will take good science and a grasp of reality.