Secret Recording Reveals Oil Execs’ Private Views on Climate Change

“At a meeting last year, industry leaders contradicted public claims that emissions of climate-warming methane are under control”

“Last summer, oil and gas-industry groups were lobbying to overturn federal rules on leaks of natural gas, a major contributor to climate change. Their message: The companies had emissions under control.

In private, the lobbyists were saying something very different.

At a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, participants worried that producers were intentionally flaring, or burning off, far too much natural gas, threatening the industry’s image, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The New York Times.

“We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, at the June 2019 gathering, held in Colorado Springs. “This pesky natural gas,” he said. “The value of it is very minimal,” particularly to companies drilling mainly for oil.”

Hiroko Tabuchi reports for the New York Times September 12, 2020.