LSU’s Upton: Reducing fossil fuels puts decarbonization strategies at risk

Greg Upton, LSU Center for Energy Studies (Photography by Jordan Hefler)

The director of LSU’s Center for Energy Studies testified before a House subcommittee last week that policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel supply in the U.S. put decarbonization strategies at risk, as most such efforts, including carbon capture, utilization and storage, or CCUS, require the availability of fossil fuels.

The testimony from interim executive director Greg Upton before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources was in regard to two bills that both affect Louisiana’s energy industry: the BRIDGE Production Act of 2023, which requires the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to conduct offshore lease sales, and the Protecting American Energy Production Act, which would ensure that the federal government can’t declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing unless Congress authorizes it.

Upton said that investments in decarbonizing industrial supply chains would likely slow if firms anticipate reduced access to feedstocks.

The nation’s energy demand has been relatively flat for the last decade and that is expected to continue, Upton says. During this time, U.S. oil production increased by 83%, natural gas production by 47% and renewable energy production by 51%, an LSU press release says.

Upton’s testimony came before  President Biden’s proposal today to hold up to three oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, representing a potential compromise between energy companies calling for greater production and activists wanting a shutdown of new offshore drilling in the fight against climate change. Read more.