LETTER from BRIAN BROCK
To the Editor:
The preliminary estimate of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions for 2018 is up 3.4 percent, reversing the recent downward trend.
What is more, arguing that burning methane is better than coal because it releases less carbon dioxide conveniently neglects that the entire gas infrastructure leaks methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. (Conveniently that is for that argument, not for the environment.) Like carbon dioxide, methane in the atmosphere shows an upward climb.
Unproven is that the conversion from coal to gas decreases the net greenhouse gas emissions. (However, the lack of residual coal ash is a great environmental benefit and gas is cheaper.) Increasing atmospheric concentration of methane flattened in the first years of this century, but resumed its upward climb with the boom in the natural gas industry as it tapped into shale reservoirs.
In contrast, there will be tremendous reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with the switching from fossil fuels to renewable energies.
Objecting to the subsidies for renewables overlooks the far larger subsidies that the fossil fuel industry has accrued over the decades. And these don’t foster a fledgling industry, a long-standing practice in the United States, but instead fatten the bottom line of established companies at the expense of our country.
The boost to our economy for conversion from coal to gas pales in comparison to the boost from fossil fuels to renewables.
As becomes clearer with each passing year, the arguments for fossil fuels, including gas, are based on selective presentations that just don’t hold up to scrutiny. Net benefits are not just fiction but fantasy.
And there’s the irony of those who once argued against restrictions on the burning of methane because there’s no manmade global warming, now argue against restrictions because burning methane will lessen that same global warming.