Obama and the media say nearly every day that fossil fuels are “dirty,” but the latest data show that the air is getting cleaner all the time, and these so-called dastardly fuels emit far less pollution than ever before. Coal, for example, is about 80 to 90% cleaner today to burn than 50 years ago. (See chart.) The amount of sulfur, lead, carbon dioxide, and other real pollutants (carbon dioxide is not a pollutant) is down by 50% or more. How many school kids know this?
But even carbon emissions are way down. The Department of Energy published data last week with some amazing revelations — so amazing that most Americans will find them hard to believe. The U.S. reduced its carbon emissions by 2 percent from last year. Over the past 14 years our carbon emissions are down more than 10 percent.
We’ve reduced our carbon emissions more than virtually any other nation in the world, including most of Europe. How many school children know that?
What’s even more stunning is how we’ve cut carbon. The answer isn’t that the EPA has regulated CO2 out of the economy. The EPA surely has started to strangle our domestic industries like coal and our electric utilities with strict emission standards.
But the primary reason carbon emissions are falling is because of… hydraulic fracturing — or fracking. Here is how the IEA puts it: “In the United States, (carbon) emissions declined by 2%, as a large switch from coal to natural gas use in electricity generation took place.” The decline “was offset by increasing emissions in most other Asian developing economies and the Middle East, and also a moderate increase in Europe.” So we shut down our coal plants and the rest of the world keeps building them. Go figure.
Fracking for shale oil and gas drilling is supposed to be evil and has even been outlawed in some states. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have come out against it in recent weeks. They might as well be against a cure for cancer.
Fracking produces massive amounts of natural gas, and as a consequence, natural gas prices have fallen in the last decade from above $8 per million BTUs to closer to $2 this year — a 75 percent reduction — due to the spike in domestic supplies.
The free market is causing a transition to natural gas and is cleaning the environment. But groups like the Sierra Club and their billionaire funders have bet the farm on wind and solar power. They’ve launched anti-fracking campaigns and “beyond natural gas” advertising campaigns. They’re living in denial. For one thing, green energy didn’t reduce green house emissions. How could it? Wind and solar still account for only a microscopic 3 percent of U.S. energy.
The story is natural gas — a wonder fuel. It is cheap. It is abundant. America has more of it than anyone else — we have several hundred years’ worth of natural gas. And it is clean burning. Even Nancy Pelosi inadvertently admitted this several years ago before someone had to whisper in her ear that, um, natural gas is a fossil fuel.
So here’s the headline you’re never going to read, but should: the left has declared war on a technology (fracking) and a fuel (natural gas) that has done more to reduce carbon emissions and real pollution emissions than all the green programs ever invented. These are the people who are going to save the planet.