I was just reading about Obama’s State of the Union address from the other day. I guess he mentioned the phrase “climate change” exactly once and is proposing a big push for natural gas (methane) as the “bridge fuel” between coal and non-fossil fuel energy sources of the future. Alls I gots to say is, big friggin yikes.
There are three major issues with upping natural gas use.
1. More emphasis on natural gas could distract from the need to get off all fossil fuels and use only clean energy sources, such as solar, wind, nuclear (yeah, I said the N word). With natural gas, we’re still going to contribute to global warming, just with a different fuel. We gotta get off fossil fuels, period, not play musical chairs with them.
2. Some studies show that switching from coal to natural gas increases rather than decreases global warming due to leakage during extraction. In natural gas extraction, no less than 2% of the methane leaks out into the atmosphere.
3. A big benefit of burning coal, from a global warming perspective, is that a large amount of particulate matter ends up in the atmosphere and that creates a cooling effect. If we stop using so much coal, expect the temperature to go up quicker.
Here’s a good article on it.