While many people agree that the development of renewable energy sources – wind, solar, geothermal, bio, and hydroelectric power – is crucial to the future and survival of mankind, there is a growing divide on how natural gas can successfully bridge the gap between now and then. When a faltering world economy and dependence by some countries on energy sources from hostile nations are factored in, the need to craft reasonable policies and practical legislation to move our natural gas safely and efficiently to market becomes even more critical.
No one can argue that sunlight, wind, and water are naturally existing and therefore clean. But the monetary cost and the inherent dangers of extracting the raw materials involved in converting them to energy are generally not discussed. Unfortunately, natural gas is a dirty word to green energy advocates who don’t support the notion that it is cleaner and safer when compared to coal and nuclear fuels.
According to an Energy Matters study published by Enbridge, natural gas produces 45 percent less carbon dioxide compared to coal when burned, 30 percent less than oil, and 15 percent less than wood. And while countries like the United States, Japan and those in Europe continue to improve emissions reductions in line with common goals and guidelines, nations like China and Russia continue to pump out excessive amounts of CO2 and other pollutants.
In a 2022 report from Natural Allies For a Clean Energy Future, contributors agree that “advancing emission reduction goals must be a shared global effort.” And while the nation’s power grid will certainly benefit from the diverse portfolio that expansion of renewable energy sources offers, the timeline for leaving fossil fuels behind is overly aggressive and economically unfeasible. This is the perfect opportunity for why natural gas must continue to be used as a clean energy alternative.
It also flies in the face of “energy security.” The vast majority of America’s natural gas is produced right here at home. And we have enough to export to Europe as liquid natural gas (LNG) to help offset the dependence of countries there on Russian fuels. In its report titled “Natural Gas Will Accelerate the Clean Energy Future,” authors conclude that investing in and improving infrastructure to better utilize our abundant supply of natural gas is the key to short- and mid-term sustainability goals.
“Additionally,” the report notes, “partnering renewable resources with natural gas means the U.S. can reach climate goals faster without sacrificing reliability and affordability.”