As the Trump administration begins, it is clear its approach to energy policy could not be more different than the previous administrationís. With the change in policy comes new opportunity for the energy industry to achieve its full potential.
Energy is so thoroughly woven into our daily lives that few will ever question whether it will be there, or where it comes from. Petroleum plays an integral role in nearly every aspect of our lives. Oil-based products are likely the first thing you touch at the beginning and end of each day, whether it is your alarm clock, television remote, cellphone or even the toothpaste and toothbrush you use to brush your teeth. Those who wear makeup or synthetic fibers, such as polyester or nylon, are using or touching petroleum nearly 24 hours a day. As a key component in heart valves, seat belts, helmets, life vests and even Kevlar, petroleum is saving tens of thousands of lives daily. Furthermore, oil and gas are key components in many medicines and antibiotics such as antiseptics, antihistamines, aspirin and sulfa drugs.
Energy production in the U.S. has increased dramatically during the last decade because the independent oil and natural gas industry is committed to investment and job creation in the U.S. and are using technology and innovation to access more oil and natural gas reserves. In addition to leading the world in the production of oil and natural gas, the U.S. also leads the world in emission reductions.
Just five years ago, no one would have imagined the U.S. could increase production of oil and natural gas while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which are now near 25-year lows. According to the EPA, oil and gas methane emissions now account for only 3.63 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. A recent study by the Energy Information Administration indicates the U.S. emitted 23 percent fewer energy-related CO2 emissions in 2015 than in 2005. Further, thanks in part to the increased use of domestic natural gas, ozone concentrations have dropped by 17 percent since 2000. The oil and natural gas industry has proven that over the long-term, it is possible to lead in energy production and in environmental stewardship.
The fundamental change under the Trump administration is that market realities and a respect for consumers and their preferences will drive smarter regulations that focus on protecting the environment and growing the economy. The Trump administration understands all Americans benefit from a safe, environmentally responsible and thriving oil industry. And they recognize the importance of letting market forces, not government mandates, drive energy policies.
The change in administration means we have the opportunity to achieve Americaís true energy potential by embracing the market-driven innovation and entrepreneurial spirit embodied by the millions of men and women who work in the American oil and natural gas industry.
What Americans expect and deserve are the facts. And the fact is, recent history has disproved the false premise that economic growth and significant increases in energy production must, necessarily, come at the expense of environmental improvement.
What would it mean for consumers, the economy and future job creation if we substantially limited exploration, development and use of fossil fuels in Americaís energy supply mix? A recent study by the Energy Information Administration indicates the average American family would see their energy costs increase by $4,550 by 2040. It could mean a cumulative loss of $11.8 trillion in the nationís GDP and the loss of 6 million jobs.
Thatís just a few of the costs to Americaís families and economy of an energy policy based on less energy. Whatís more, the vision of less energy in the future contradicts the overwhelming consensus of experts who agree we will need more energy for decades to come. In the U.S., oil and natural gas will supply 60 percent of U.S. energy needs by 2040, even under the most optimistic scenarios for renewable energy growth. Worldwide energy consumption will increase by 48 percent by 2040, and 78 percent of that energy consumption will be met by fossil fuels.
We hope the Trump administration will pursue environmental policies that build on the progress our nation has made in the last several years thanks in large part to the American oil and natural gas energy renaissance. We also hope the Trump administration will recognize the innovation and core commitment to American energy security displayed by Americaís oil and natural gas industry is a national asset that should be encouraged and promoted.
The U.S. has a unique opportunity to show the world how energy abundance can be used as a positive force to lift people up. More than a billion people around the world face challenges for adequate food and education, clean water and protection from heat and cold due to a lack of access to energy. We should work to ensure more people have access to safe, affordable and reliable energy, no matter which state, nation or continent they reside. Because to rise out of poverty and enjoy health and safety, people need more energy, not less.
We need a new American understanding of energy, and with it a national energy policy based on science, the free market and entrepreneurial spirit. We should set aside the acrimony and division that has marked too much of past national energy policy discussions and work together as one nation on a positive forward-looking energy future based on the understanding that our nationís best energy future can only be achieved through a true all-of-the-above energy strategy.
Future generations are looking to us to get our nationís energy policy right. Theyíre counting on us to leave them with a country that is second to none in energy production, security and economic prosperity.
Edward Cross is president of the Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association.