The companies in the ONE Future Coalition are in the business of finding, producing, processing, transporting, and delivering natural gas to residential and industrial consumers across the United States. Natural gas is primarily composed of methane — a clean fuel that emits few air pollutants when burned in stove tops, or in power plants to generate electricity, or to power vehicle engines. However, when methane is emitted directly into the atmosphere (and not burned), it is a potent greenhouse gas. By reducing methane emissions across the natural gas supply chain, ONE Future companies will deliver more value to our customers, while also meaningfully reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a win-win.
Traditional Policies, Diminishing Returns.
Historically, regulatory agencies have approached environmental problems with a prescriptive approach that mandates the adoption of specific technologies, practices or procedures for all facilities or operations of a certain type.
While a prescriptive approach may sometimes be effective in reducing the targeted pollutant — the prescriptive approach is rarely cost-effective. By focusing on the process or technology and not the outcome, the prescriptive approach frequently increases costs without achieving a commensurate environmental benefit. Additionally, by mandating specific technologies, the prescriptive approach tends to discourage (and often forbids) the adoption new innovations. As a result, even prescriptive regulations that are initially effective tend to show diminishing returns over time.
Flexible. Performance-Based. Measurable results.
The companies in ONE Future begin with a focus on the outcome we want to achieve. In the case of methane emissions, that desired outcome is to collectively achieve an average rate of emissions across all of our facilities that is equivalent to one percent (or less) of total natural gas production. Each company then has the flexibility to determine the most cost?effective pathway to achieve that goal — whether that be deploying an innovative technology, modifying a work practice, or in some cases, retiring an asset. In order to demonstrate credible and measurable results, ONE Future companies agree to measure their starting point emissions (establishing a baseline) and track their progress according to uniform, EPA-approved reporting protocols.
Combining a performance target with a flexible pathway, allows our companies to deploy their capital where it will be maximally effective in reducing emissions. This is important, because most studies clearly show that the majority of methane emissions come from a small fraction of sources. ONE Future’s approach allows companies to focus their resources on identifying and addressing those major sources.
Target: Optimal Performance.
In order to achieve ONE Future’s collective one percent target, ONE Future plans to identify sectoral performance targets for each of the four major industry sectors (Exploration & Production; Gathering &Processing; Transmission &Storage, and Distribution & Retail) that would cumulatively add up to industry’s overall one percent goal. ONE Future will work to set these performance targets in rough proportion to each industry sectors’ respective share of current emissions, taking into account reduction potentials given current regulatory barriers. These sectoral targets serve both to benchmark company progress toward their goals, but also to facilitate comparisons amongst diverse companies as each strives for optimal performance.