Green groups loved nuclear power back in the 1950s, so long as we would swear off abundant coal (and, at the time, oil) for producing electricity. Then nukes became reality and, well, the greens changed their tune. Natural gas was considered too valuable for mere electricity production – yeah, re-read that, and think of it when EPA’s ‘utility MACT’ closes plants and shuts off the lights in a few short years – so it wasn’t really in the equation.
That latter reality changed over time, thanks to e.g., the Arab oil embargo and the war on coal, and therefore so did the way the greens receive the notion of fuel-switching. What, you say we’re awash in it? Why, this mean wo-ah!
Of course, leading gas purveyors like Chesapeake Energy are also among the most odious promoters of the ‘global warming’ agenda (gas guys were early partners, along with the green groups, in Enron inventing the global warming industry), and generally of windmill and other such mandates. This is not just because that agenda is really a war on coal in its objective and its means, but also because for practical reasons what that really means is more gas-fired plants. In short, the wind and sun are not only too diffuse given those stubborn laws of physics, but fickle mistresses as well…a new twist on the old ‘waiter, the food was horrible and the portions too small‘ gag.
So it is that today we see our newly abundant natural gas, the latest in the decades-long series of energy sources that were deemed to be an acceptable ‘bridge’ energy source to pixie dust, Flubber and moonbeams – so long as it remains theoretical – taking it on the chin in a new report.
A Cornell professor (of ecology and environmental biology, in case you had any question about that) and his team conclude that the carbon (equivalent) footprint of gas produced by hydraulic fracturing – the extraction procedure which makes recent discoveries so spectacularly bountiful – is anywhere from 20% to 100% higher than coal.
Even though its sales pitch was that it is about 50% lower. Huh. So now natural gas is bad, too. And we’ll just rely on electricity, instead.
Of course, things could be worse. They could have alleged something rather more credible in the public’s eyes than a man-made global warming threat. Still, it’s pretty clear that if someone invented pixie dust the greens would immediately point to some paper claiming a link between pixie dust and childhood (always the children, luv, no matter how reprehensible one must be to say so) respiratory distress. If we bottled moonbeams to keep the lights on, radiation fears would be stoked.
It all beats arguing their real fear, which is of energy sources that meet our demand.
All of which actually affirms a remarkable consistency by our otherwise highly volatile anti-energy lobby: opposition to anything which might work, once it that moves from theory to reality.