By Susan Combs
The Dallas Morning News, September 24, 2022
Let’s protect the environment without following Europe’s dire path and attacking fossil fuels.
Larry Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary under President Barack Obama, recently was interviewed for a Harvard Institute of Politics forum at the Boston Globe’s Globe Summit, where he described the Biden administration’s policy not to construct new pipelines, which would “permit accessing more resources and cheaper, safer transmission,” as “kind of insane.” The former Obama official is exactly right. In his continual attacks on fossil fuels, President Joe Biden is leading the United States down the same path as Europe.
This is the path that has led to historic surges in energy prices with resulting protests. The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris is now shutting off its lights an hour early to save on electricity, and President Emmanuel Macron recently called for French residents to prepare for “energy sobriety.”
Additionally, Europe has jeopardized its economic future and national security through an over-reliance on renewables and a reliance on powers such as Russia for natural gas imports. While environmental improvement is a noble goal and practical imperative, following in the energy footsteps of Europe will have dire consequences for the United States, which has vast deposits of hydrocarbons. Not only would this drive up energy prices, but it would also choke the lifeblood out of the Texas economy and have devastating effects for hundreds of thousands of Texas families.
Fortunately, preserving our environment and our economic and national security is not an “either or” choice as some would have you believe. Through investment in carbon capture technologies, which would help create a cleaner environment, we can assist the fossil fuel industry in improving the environment and creating new economic opportunities. Through the process of carbon capture utilization and storage, CO2 is captured and compressed into a concentrated stream. The CO2 is then ultimately utilized for value or injected into the ground to ensure safe and permanent long-term storage which enhances our economic and national security.
Energy companies can continue to operate while expanding into more sectors of the economy. Additionally, this would create a new market for landowners, mineral owners and the agricultural industry who would be able to offer their considerable acreage to store carbon in exchange for a fee.
The elimination of fossil fuels is not feasible or realistic. The Texas energy industry, which is a major part of ensuring American energy independence, must be maintained. And just as we have always done when it comes to energy, the Lone Star State must lead the way.
Investment in carbon capture is expensive. That is why the state of Texas should authorize economic incentives such as tax credits or property tax reductions that support carbon capture projects. What’s more, recent polling conducted by the Carbon Neutral Coalition shows that 71% of Texans support carbon capture utilization and storage efforts.
To meet our future energy demands, our federal and state partners need to work with the energy sector and take advantage of our supply of fossil fuels to create an energy future that is affordable, reliable and carbon neutral.
Carbon capture, not prohibiting fossil fuels, is the path forward. By enabling industries and the marketplace to advance broad commercial deployment of carbon capture utilization and storage efforts, we can eliminate harmful carbon dioxide emissions and keep the Lone Star State the energy capital of the world.
Susan Combs is the former Texas comptroller and advisory board chairwoman of the Carbon Neutral Coalition. She wrote this for The Dallas Morning News.
Originally posted on The Dallas Morning News.