When U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced plans to reign in greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas production, the opposing drum beats from industry and environmental groups were as fast as they were relentless. The industry group America’s Natural Gas Alliance bombarded Twitter with paid advertisements stating how little their industry actually emits. Press releases from leading environmental organizations deploring the plan’s reliance on largely voluntary actions flooded email inboxes.
Opposition to any new regulation by industry, however, isn’t as lockstep as its lobbying groups would have us believe. At the same time, environmentalists’ focus on voluntary versus mandatory measures misses a much graver concern.