• American Petroleum Institute balks at rule favoring renewables
  • Fossil fuels and environment `not mutually exclusive'

On the eve of a global warming summit that will take direct aim at fossil-fuel pollution, U.S. oil and natural-gas producers say they want to be part of the solution.

The industry’s lobbying group in Washington said reducing heat-trapping emissions should depend on “market-based solutions” that leave a place for natural gas instead of regulations favoring wind, solar and other less polluting fuels. A boom in natural-gas drilling in the U.S. has helped drive emissions to their lowest level in decades, the American Petroleum Institute said in a statement Monday.

“The nation’s 21st century energy renaissance, which has made domestically produced natural gas cheap and abundant, has helped us achieve substantial and sustained emissions reductions without command-and-control style regulatory intervention,” API President Jack Gerard told reporters on a conference call. By contrast, President Barack Obama is “pursuing costly government mandates to the detriment of the American consumer and our economy.”

Climate Conference

The oil industry finds itself under scrutiny with a United Nations climate conference in Paris set to begin at the end of the month, where almost 200 nations will try to seal a deal reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades. In the U.S., Obama has introduced new regulations on electric utilities that are expected to discourage coal in favor of wind and solar power as well as gas, which produces lower emissions than coal.

The U.S. has accomplished more on the climate front by letting gas production grow, Gerard said, and negotiators in Paris should follow the same strategy.

Obama’s regulation “puts the finger on the scale on behalf of a couple of technologies; we believe they should all compete in the marketplace,” he said. “It may be an inconvenient truth for leave-it-in-the-ground activists, but fossil fuels and environmental progress are not and never have been mutually exclusive.”

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