A report out this week from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA claims 2019 was the second hottest year on record. That’s another data point that seems to back up dire warnings about climate change. The debate in recent years has centered on whether or not and to what extent such changes are caused by human activity. The oil and gas industry has been viewed by environmentalists as trying to downplay or undermine climate change research in an effort to stem regulation of the industry. This week, in a conference call with reporters, Todd Staples, head of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, and a former Texas agriculture commissioner, said that “all emissions contribute to climate change.”
It has been reported that the statement is an unambiguous acknowledgment of a link between fossil fuels emissions and climate change.
Staples spoke with Texas Standard Host David Brown about his comments, and energy regulation.
On the use and meaning of the term climate change:
I think the term climate change has been hijacked. I think it’s been used to unfortunately introduce climate hysteria or climate confusion. I’m very proud of the work oil and natural gas does to build a stronger energy future.
On interpretations of his earlier comments to reporters:
I think some reporters took a literary license. The question that was posed to me was ‘Is Texas at risk with all the new voters coming in?’ …So, if you’ll listen to that entire interview I believe the very real context reflects that we need everyone engaged on science and facts, and not the climate confusion, not the hysteria, and that was that whole conversation.
On energy’s impact on the environment:
What we do know, and what we understand is [that] every energy source is going to have an environmental footprint of some kind. Wind and renewable[s] are great sources and options. And they may be renewable, and naturally found, but wind turbines and solar panels are not.
On climate-related energy regulations:
I think the term is used in such a way to confuse the public that the sky is falling in… The oil and gas industry, and myself, are not opposed to regulations, per se. We are opposed to politically-based regulations, and not fact-based regulations.
On the role of oil and gas as an energy source in the future:
I want there to be the acknowledgement that we need to look at all energy sources. And the U.S. oil and natural gas industry is very willing to have that conversation. We believe we have a leadership role and a responsibility role to develop solutions for our nation so that we can be strong and secure and independent.