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The times they are a-changing

To have a natural gas symposium keynote speaker be the leader of a vocal green energy organization like the Environmental Defense Fund may seem like an oxymoron, but when you consider the large university venue, the hosts’ focus on renewable energy, the loud global debate about greenhouse gases and climate change, and the coming United Nations carbon policy meeting in Paris at the end of November, Mr. Krupp’s appearance as the meeting’s primary speaker should not be a surprise.

Colorado State University’s Energy Institute and the Center for the New Energy Economy, whose focus is to promote the migration to renewable energy, hosted the fifth annual Natural Gas Symposium last week in Fort Collins. The venue is within spitting distance of the heart of the DJ Basin’s Wattenberg field—one of the shale boom’s favorite hangouts.

ABOVE – VIDEO: Fred Krupp (l), President of the EDF, responds to questions from former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (r), at Colorado State University’s 5th Natural Gas Symposium.

Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, delivered the event’s keynote talk. Krupp was introduced by former Colo. Governor Bill Ritter, director of the CNEE. The CNEE “provides technical assistance to help officials create the policies and practices that will facilitate America’s transition to a clean-energy economy.” Ritter established a 30% renewable portfolio standard in Colorado, while serving as governor.

EIA Renewable Growth by 2040The Environmental Defense Fund’s website states that the EDF is a strong proponent of reversing man-caused climate change. Krupp has been the organization’s president for three decades. The organization’s website puts it this way: “The science is clear: Human activity is causing our climate to change.” The EDF strongly defends the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and lays out ways for citizens to combat those who disagree, by joining to influence government policy to support carbon limits.

From the EDF website:

“Who’s trying to block the [EPA’s Clean Power Plan]?

Fossil fuel groups and conservative lawmakers have mounted extensive campaigns to try and block the plan. Specifically,

  • In the media: The Koch brothers, owners of vast fossil fuel holdings, have funded campaigns that spread false information about the plan.

  • In Congress: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is spearheading the “Just Say No” campaign to encourage states to refuse to comply.

  • In the courts: Several lawsuits were filed—and dismissed—before the plan was even finished. We expect more lawsuits now that the rule is final.

  • In the states: Governors of several hostile states, especially those that produce coal, have indicated they may not comply with the rules.”

NatGas is an exit ramp off of fossil fuels: Krupp

EIA Electricity Generation by 2040The EDF supports the move away from coal to natural gas for electrical power generation, and in the Q&A at CSU’s Natural Gas Symposium, Krupp presented his personal view of the move toward natural gas: “I don’t consider it a bridge to clean energy, I consider it an exit ramp off of coal and ultimately off of fossil fuels. We have to switch to clean energy; the debate really is about how long that is going to take. I think natural gas is going to be around for a while. I think natural gas is going to have a longer useful life to our country if it cleans itself up.”

“We’ll slow the pace of climate change if we cut carbon dioxide and potent short-acting gases like methane,” the EDF says on its website. We’re targeting key states to pass methane standards, and making the case for fixing methane leaks across the natural gas supply chain.”

Krupp spent a portion of his talk pointing to the oil and gas industry’s cooperation in working with the EDF and others in studies to measure methane emissions at oil and gas facilities. He highlighted the oil and gas industry’s cooperation in access to drilling sites and sharing well data.  Krupp mentioned the university studies from earlier in the year that came back negative as far as the hydraulic fracturing process itself being proven to be NOT the cause of ground water or aquifer contamination.

Krupp said the amount of methane emissions from oil and gas operations is equal to that of 1,000 coal-fired power plants. However, the American Petroleum recently reported on EPA reports that show that methane emissions are on a downtrend for the past few years.

API Methane emissions

Chart: American Petroleum Institute from EPA data

Paris UN Climate Meeting in November/December will Result in Legally Binding Carbon Rules: UN

The Paris 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21/CMP11), will be held from November 30 to December 11, 2015 in Paris. Here is the conference’s stated goal:

“For the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, this future climate agreement will be universal and legally binding for all major GHG emitters, including both developed and developing countries. Subsequent COPs will finalize the details of the agreement so that it may enter into force from 2020, when the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends.”

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