Anti-energy, keep it in the ground left pursues counter productive policies

Seth Whitehead:
Earth Day is coming up on Sunday, and environmentalists have much cause for celebration this year when it comes to U.S. emissions reductions.

The latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data show U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined 13 percent since 2005, while overall greenhouse gas emissions are at their lowest levels since 1992. EPA data also show emissions of three air pollutants responsible for millions of deaths worldwide — sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter — have also plummeted since 2005.

The environmental movement has been striving to achieve these kinds of reductions ever since the first Earth Day debuted way back in 1970. But ironically, if the “keep it in the ground” groups behind many of Sunday’s Earth Day events had their druthers, the fuel largely responsible for these emission declines would be eliminated altogether.

Numerous reputable third party experts — including the International Energy Agency (IEA), U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — agree that increased use of clean burning natural gas deserves the bulk of the credit for America’s declining emissions. Still, “keep it in the ground” activists continue to not only call for fracking bans, but the elimination of fossil fuel use altogether.

This extreme agenda is simply not supported by the science.

Bolstered by fuel switching to natural gas in the power sector, the United States has led all major industrialized countries in carbon reductions this century. The EIA released a report late last year that shows natural gas has prevented over 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted since 2005, noting that natural gas’ share of power sector related carbon reductions is 72 percent greater than renewables and other non-carbon sources during that time-span.

IEA stated plainly last year that, “The U.S. power sector has led the world in cutting CO2 emissions since 2008, thanks largely to natural gas…”

Many extreme voices in the environmental movement argue that methane emissions from natural gas development effectively negate the obvious carbon reductions from natural gas. But the latest EPA data show that natural gas systems methane emissions have declined 3.5 percent since 2005, while overall methane emissions have declined as well.
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There is more.

When you consider the inefficiencies of the alternative of wind and solar energy, gas makes even more sense.  Both alternatives provide intermittent power and neither can be scaled to meet demand.  This is particularly important during extreme weather events like the unusual cold spells last winter where the alternative energy sources could not meet demand and forced utilities to burn fuel oil which creates more CO2.

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