South Korea building ships to carry Texas LNG

Texas Tribune:
In South Korea’s largest shipyard, thousands of workers in yellow hard hats move ceaselessly between towering cranes lifting hulks of steel. They look like a hive of bees scurrying over a massive circuit board as they weld together the latest additions to the rapidly growing fleet of tankers carrying super-chilled liquefied natural gas across the world’s oceans.

The boom in fossil-fuel production in the United States has been matched by a rush on the other side of the Pacific to build the infrastructure needed to respond to the seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy among Asia’s top economies. When Congress lifted 40-year-old restrictions on shipping crude oil overseas in 2015, soon after the Obama administration opened the doors for international sales of natural gas, even the most boosterish of Texas oil men wouldn’t have predicted the U.S. could become one of the world’s biggest fossil-fuel exporters so quickly.

Climate experts say there is little doubt increased American production and exports are contributing to the recent rise in planet-warming carbon emissions by helping keep crude prices low, increasing consumption in developing economies.

Backers of U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, argue that the boom will produce environmental benefits because it will help China and other industrial nations wean themselves from coal and other dirtier fossil fuels.

Environmentalists counter that the massive new supplies unleashed by American advances in extracting natural gas from shale doesn’t just make coal-fired power plants less competitive. LNG also competes with such zero-carbon sources of electricity as nuclear, solar and wind — potentially delaying the full adoption of greener sources. That’s time climate scientists and researchers say the world doesn’t have if humans hope to mitigate the worst-case consequences of our carbon emissions, including catastrophic sea-level rise, stronger storms and more wildfires.
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Currently, alternative energy sources are inefficient and other than nuclear, unable to scale production to meet demand.  They are supported by taxpayer subsidies and would be even less competitive if they had to deliver on their own merits.  They are less dependable in extreme weather. and tend to have intermittent production of energy.  LNG will do more to reduce CO2 emissions.  The US is already lowering its own emissions more than those still in the Paris agreement by using natural gas.

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