LETTER from DICK DOWNEY
To the Editor:
Bob Eklund (“Praise For Fracking? Let’s call It Fossil-Fuel Fiction,” Jan. 2-3, 2020) and I are opposing veterans of the Gas Wars and almost friends.
The environmental and economic benefits of gas are NOT fiction. The EPA reports CO2 emissions peaked in 2007 as gas replaced coal in electric power generation. By 2017 emissions dropped 28 percent to 30-year lows. Emissions fell another 2.1 percent last year, mainly due to an 18 percent drop in coal generation. Coal power is now back to 1975 levels. Gas did it.
By replacing coal in electric plants, fracked gas (and oil) has stimulated our industry and our general economy while keeping prices low. Our population and GDP has grown enormously yet emissions keep dropping. No other industrial economy has that record.
The U.S.A. produces 14 percent of global emissions. The other 86 percent lies elsewhere. Coal-fired China pumps out more CO2 than the U.S. and the EU combined.
China “promises” to peak in 2030. However, according to the Global Energy Monitor, there are plans for increased capacity equal to current EU output of 150 gigawatts. That will mean building one coal-fired generator per week for 10 years, 500 of the 700 already planned. And we’re not even talking of what will be happening in India, Indonesia, and Africa.
In the meantime, in our little corner of the world, Andrew Cuomo slams the door on gas in the name of environmental purity.
He perverts the SEQR process in order to stop the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline that would deliver cheap Pennsylvania gas to New York and New England.
He extorts electric companies with the threat of franchise suspension. Note National Grid.
He raises the cost of electricity through subsidies and mandates favoring high-cost renewables.
He controls the agencies that withhold the permits.
It’s no great mystery that NYSEG requests a 27 percent rate increase. And … that’s only the beginning.
So while Cuomo diddles in “small ball” environmental politics, Vladimir Putin builds pipelines. He has two 800-mile pipelines under the Baltic Sea serving Germany.
Germany remains dependent on “brown” coal to backstop its renewables program. With electricity rates triple those in the U.S.A., it needs gas for price and environmental reasons.
Last month Putin opened the 1,800-mile Power of Siberia Pipeline to Northern China. The Power of Siberia Pipeline will eventually pump 38 billion cubic meters of gas by 2025. That’s the equivalent of Brazil’s annual gas consumption.
If the U.S.A. experience is any predictor, this will knock quite a few of China’s coal generators off the grid because … gas beats coal in price and emissions.
So I have a question for Mr. Eklund: which energy model is better for the global environment (and the individual’s pocketbook) – Andrew Cuomo’s or Vladimir Putin’s?
Give me a call, Bob. I’m in the book. I’d like to point out four or five other errors in your Letter but the ghosts of the poets tell me to stick to one theme.
That theme is – GAS WORKS. For the immediate good of our environment. For our collective and personal economics. For our country as a whole.