The head of the largest U.S. energy oil industry organization cautioned that Americans risk-taking the “wrong path” in the 2020 presidential election by banning drilling if they vote for a candidate who aims to combat climate change.
The American Petroleum Institute’s chief executive said such plans from Democratic candidates trying to unseat Republican President Donald Trump poses a threat to the economy and encouraged a room full of almost 800 oil executives to push back against them.
The industry group has launched a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign focused on U.S. political swing states, which bills the oil and gas industry as a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through technology improvements.
“We know many candidates now are talking about this industry and we want to make sure the American people hear our story,” said API President and CEO Mike Sommers.
U.S. Democrats hoping to run against Trump in November’s election have vowed to rapidly shift the country away from planet-warming fossil fuels if elected to help avert the worst impacts of global climate change.
To do so, some politicians here have promised to end new drilling on public land, and some have suggested a nationwide moratorium on hydraulic fracking – a controversial extraction technique that pumps water and chemicals into rock formations to reach petroleum reserves.
Critics claim that transitioning to a zero-emission economy would generate millions of new jobs in clean energy sectors such as solar and wind, which would make up for jobs lost in oil and mining.
The United States has become the world’s top oil and gas producer thanks to a fracking-led drilling boom. The API will release a report later this week showing that a fracking ban would put over 7 million jobs at risk by 2022 and cost the economy $7.1 trillion by 2030, Sommers said.
In the meantime, U.S. emissions of particles that scientists blame for climate change have decreased for about a decade, mainly due to the replacement of thousands of old and obsolete coal-fired power plants with natural gas plants.
But the future of U.S. emissions was cast in doubt as the Trump administration attempts to boost the development of domestic fossil fuels by rolling back climate protection and other environmental regulations from the Obama era.