External citations of our work

This is important! [As Gordon and Reuland wrote in their LegalPlanet blog], California produced some of the most carbon-intensive crude in the world!
— Maya Golden-Krasner, Senior Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity and Deputy Director, Climate Law Institute

Over the past few decades, many new “unconventional oils” (e.g., tight oil, oil sands, etc.) have come on line as a result of new technologies like fracking. These unconventional oils vary enormously in their climate impacts [according to Gordon and her colleagues], but few people outside the industry are aware of this. If GHG emission information from unconventional oils were widely disclosed, it might reconfigure the political economy of the energy sector.
— Eric M. Patashnik, Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy, Brown University. Cited in the article: "Limiting Policy Backlash," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, September 10, 2019

“Are oil majors really pushing beyond petroleum?”

by Benjamin Storrow in E&E News, September 16, 2019

The focus on renewables alone ignores the full breadth of the oil industry, [Gordon] said. Take a scenario where adoption of electric vehicles becomes widespread. That would reduce gasoline demand, but refineries would still churn out diesel, jet fuel, asphalt and petrochemicals. The consumer can’t snap their fingers and get off everything in the whole barrel of oil.

“California oil regulators made 'dummy' approval files for risky drill permits, records show”

By Janet Wilson, Palm Springs Desert Sun, August 12, 2019

If California wants to live up to its reputation as an environmental leader, [Gordon] said, it would need to modernize its oil operations and oversight.

“Global environmental coalition petitions insurers to drop Trans Mountain Pipeline”

By Lyle Adriano in Insurance Business Magazine, August 9, 2019

Citing the Carnegie Oil-Climate Index, the coalition said in its letter that the Canadian oil sands are one of the dirtiest, highest carbon sources of oil on the planet.

“Opinion: True prairie resilience needed to fight climate change”

By Carol Kroeger in Regina Leader Post, June 2019

Canadian oil is not the most “sustainably” produced — it is, in fact, incredibly unsustainable .... Carnegie’s massive Global Oil-Climate Index confirmed that Canada’s oil sands produce some of the most carbon-intensive oil on the planet.

“U.S. Refining Industry Reckons with Uncertain Energy Future”

By Scott Jenkins in Chemical Engineering, May 2019

The question is, Gordon says, “under the constraints of climate change, how can we re-draw the refining road map to manufacture net-zero-emission products while shrinking the refining sector’s carbon footprint?

“Better carbon, air metrics may be rewarded in oil and gas sector”

By Eric Kane and Shaheen Contractor, Bloomberg Intelligence, May 07, 2019

Companies such as Suncor and Repsol with exposure to oil sands and heavy-oil operations continue to report higher carbon intensities. Canada’s Athabasca oil sands have the highest level of upstream GHG emissions, based on the Carnegie Oil-Climate Index.

“Thick and Viscous: California Oil Production Among the Dirtiest in the Country”

By KCET, April 2019

And California oil production is uniquely treacherous. “People tend to think all oils are the same, but they’re not,” says Deborah Gordon, a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, and a noted expert in the climate burden of global petroleum production. Oil in the San Joaquin Valley typically has a higher carbon-to-hydrogen ratio than does oil from, for instance, North Dakota’s Bakken Formation.

“Are oil majors serious about cutting emissions?”

By Benjamin Storrow in E&E News, March 2019

I think that [our knowledge of methane emissions] is early,” said Deborah Gordon, a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute. “It is a really important problem, and we’re just starting to get a handle on what it is and how to fix it.

“It's Time for California to Get Out of the Oil Business”

By Judith Mernit in Sierra, March 2019

Three years ago, Deborah Gordon, then director of the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ranked different types of oil by their carbon emissions at all stages, from extraction to refining to burning. Gordon calculated the kilograms of CO2 (or equivalent) emitted by a given barrel of different types of crude .... Oil from California’s largest and oldest field, Midway-Sunset, came in just behind, at 725 kilograms of CO2 per barrel.

“As New Energy Charges Ahead, Top 10 Things to Watch”

By Energy Intelligence Group, January 2019

“Expect a big push through asset owners to park significant amounts in activities that align with a 1.5-degree climate trajectory,” says the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Deborah Gordon.

“Do Shell’s New Climate Commitments Make the Grade?”

By Jeremy Martin in Union of Concerned Scientists Blog, December 2018

A recent paper in Science calculated the carbon intensity of oil from thousands of oil fields ... The authors estimated that through wise resource choices and improved gas management practices the oil industry could reduce emissions over the next century by at least 18 Gt and as much as 50 Gt considering other mitigation opportunities such as reduced emissions from oil refining.
Deborah Gordon at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and retired Chevron scientist Stephen Ziman wrote a useful article on petroleum industry climate plans. They argue that companies need to develop transparent systems based on standardized verifiable climate plans.

“U.S. oil is surging. Here's what it means for the climate”

By Benjamin Storrow in E&E News, December 2018

The situation owes itself to an oddity of America’s oil market, said Deborah Gordon, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s climate and energy program. U.S. refineries are set up to process heavy crudes produced in countries like Canada, Mexico and Venezuela — not the light sweet brands pumped from Texas’ Permian Basin or the Bakken in North Dakota. The result: America exports much of the oil it produces and consumes crude it buys from elsewhere. There is a climate cost to that dynamic.

“Oil and Gas Production in California—Extraordinary?”

Repost by Roger Straw in The Benicia Independent, November 2018

Guest Bloggers Deborah Gordon and Frances Reuland: Is California Extraordinary? Its Oil Resources Certainly Are”

“Despite ongoing federal rollbacks to environmental regulations, California has the right to set its own clean air standards because it is truly extraordinary. Truth be told, the compelling circumstances that first set in motion California’s vehicle emissions standards remain entirely valid ...

“The week in energy: Not all oil is equal”

By Ed Crooks in Financial Times, November 2018

Another way that varieties of oil and gas can differ is in their greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the lifecycle emissions from oil are released when it is burnt, but the differences in production, processing and transport are so great that they can make a significant difference to the total. The IEA (using the OCI) calculates that, in principle, there would be large savings in emissions from shifting to less polluting sources, for example with lower leakage of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Switching from the highest-emitting sources to the lowest would cut total lifecycle emissions 25 per cent for oil and 30 per cent for gas. it says.

“Big Oil And Climate Leadership -- An Oxymoron?”

By Georg Kell in Forbes, September 2018

Shining a light on this question is clouded by several factors: a lack of transparency about oil and gas-related emissions, an absence of coherent measurement methodologies (Oil Climate Index) ...

“Norway’s Green Delusions”

By Lars Teigen in Foreign Policy, September 2018

Using data from the Carnegie Endowment and Knut Einar Rosendahl, a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, researchers showed that Ghawar and Safaniya, fields run by Saudi Arabia, emit around 50 and 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide per ton...

“Can Engineering Change Our Climate for the Better? Part 1”

By Mark Crawford in ASME, April 2018

The Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) approach takes advantage of carbon naturally stored by plants during photosynthesis. ‘By burning biomass to generate energy before it decomposes and releases its bounty of carbon and then capturing the carbon released during biomass combustion and storing it underground, BECCS removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,’ says Deborah Gordon.

“The Great Crude-Oil Fireball Test”

By Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic, February 2018

For the last several years, [Gordon’s] team, including Joule A. Bergerson from the University of Calgary and Jonathan Koomey from Stanford University, has been trying to develop an Oil-Climate Index that looks at the life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions from different oils. What they’ve found is remarkable: Some oils produce many times the total emissions of other oils. But all these substances go by the same name.

“Why Does Green California Pump the Dirtiest Oil in the U.S.?”

By Judith Lewis Mernit in Yale Environment 360, October 2017

Gordon ... warns that such a petroleum-free future is a long way off ... and even if the world switched to solar-powered electric cars tomorrow, petroleum would still be used in plastics, drugs, and jet fuel. ‘We could be at this another 100 years,’ she says, ‘and oil resources will only get harder to extract.’

“Index Shows Oil’s Climate Impacts Vary Widely”

By Bobby Magill in Climate Central, March 2015

Opportunities to reduce emissions can be found in understanding that different kinds of oil are responsible for drastically different levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Oil produced in one place may release significantly more GHGs than oil produced in another, according to a new Oil-Climate Index published this month by a team of scientists from Stanford University, the University of Calgary, and the Carnegie Endowment...

“States Must Comply with Clean Power Plan”

By Tim Profeta in National Geographic, March 2015

A first-of-its-kind oil-climate index ... captures the huge spread between the most and least intensive greenhouse gas (GHG) oils. By calculating the carbon costs of various crudes and related petroleum products, the authors suggest that companies and policymakers can better prioritize their development.

“U.S. Shale Oil Boom: When It Comes To CO2 Emissions, Not All Crude Oil Is Created Equal”

By Maria Gallucci in International Business Times, March 2015

‘I knew a paradigm shift in the oil sector was going to come,’ Gordon recalled. She wanted to know, ‘What do all these diversifying oils mean for the climate, and how do they stack up against each other?’

“Oil is Changing: Five Facts About Oil You Should Probably Know from the Carnegie Oil Climate Index”

By Jeremy Martin in Union of Concerned Scientists Blog, March 2015

Oil is changing and getting dirtier, riskier to extract, and more expensive to produce. This Oil Climate Index is a treasure trove of important information that my colleagues and I at UCS will be digging into in coming months, but right off the bat, I wanted to share 5 key insights and the data that backs them up.

“Oil Index Sheds Light on Greenest, Dirtiest Petroleum Types”

By Philippe Roos in Energy Intelligence, March 2015

Oil firms are facing lots of environmental pressure and scrutiny these days, but to a large degree, oil’s actual carbon footprint varies greatly depending on the type of oil and the extraction method used. In fact, the heaviest-polluting oils impact the climate almost twice as much as the cleanest oils, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found in its new Oil-Climate Index tool designed for policymakers and investors, detailed in the report Know Your Oil.

“Let’s Not Braise the Planet”

By Mark Bittman in The New York Times, July 2013

According to [the Know Your Oil] report released by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace last month, we are not running out of fossil fuels anytime soon. ...With future technologies, it may well be that the suffering sky is the limit.