Natural Gas: A Bridge to Disaster

Natural Gas: A Bridge to Disaster


Natural Gas Washington Natural Gas! Natural Gas! Gas saves you money! When you look at natural gas companies you see that they’ll be called things like “Clean Energy, LLC” “Green Energy, LLC” and you think they’re a renewable company but they’re selling natural gas. And they get to do that because there’s such a general misconception in the public. So back in the ’70s it was proposed as a bridge between fossil fuels and renewables even though natural gas itself is a fossil fuel. If you look at the people who are the bigwigs in the natural gas industry you got Shell, Chevron, BP, all these major oil companies because they see natural gas as the future of fossil fuels because people are so deeply under the misconception that this is a clean fuel that a lot of the work is already done for them. Industry also came up with a way to make you want to use natural gas. And that messaging said that natural gas is cleaner than everything else. Natural gas is a bridge fuel to renewables. So if we want to get off of dirty fossil fuels like coal and oil we can use natural gas in the meantime until the renewable technology is ready for us to use. Natural gas is primarily composed of about 95% of methane gas which again is a greenhouse gas. Well methane is, over a twenty year time-frame, over 80 times worse at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. So why would we be using natural gas to replace fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide when the natural gas is leaking directly into the atmosphere and it is causing consequences that are over 80 times worse than the thing I’m trying to fix? And when you hear about natural gas being 50% cleaner than coal, you’re hearing about the point of combustion. That’s not where the problem with natural gas is. What we have to do is look at the life cycle of the gas, not just the point of combustion. The life cycle means looking at the leaks that are coming out of the pipelines. Looking at the site of extraction where they take the natural gas out of the ground And a lot of it gets vented into the atmosphere. Because it’s a gas, it leaks everywhere. In terms of global warming and climate change it’s not that much better than coal and it could possibly be worse depending on how much is leaking. About 70% of the natural gas we produce in the United States comes from fracking. It’s another reason that we don’t call it natural gas, we call it fracked gas. Because that’s what it is now. Then natural gas is actually not a solution for us in terms of moving to a cleaner energy future. What we would be doing is basically staying in the same place while telling ourselves we’re doing something better. But right now we’re at that place where we were with the cigarette industry when they were testifying in front of congress that cigarettes are actually good for you. And so that’s where we are with natural gas right now. The concept that natural gas is actually good for you is going to be something that is so laughable about 10 years from now. We know that actually it’s not a bridge [fuel] it’s over there with the other fossil fuels that we need to put in the past.

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