One hundred and fifteen years (or so) after natural gas was first used in residences for various purposes, all of a sudden the cleaner-burning, cheaper fuel as opposed to coal is in the crosshairs from the chicken littles of climate.
Long thought of as a “bridge fuel” as coal burns with a lot more pollution and dust, the climate gurus are now “correcting” the record, calling natural gas a “fossil fuel” rather than a petrochemical as it comes out of rock. Not only that, the people who swear man is overheating the planet in spite of the sun, want those of us who use natural gas for heating, cooking, and fireplace features, to cut our consumption by a third.
But this energy source, which has become easy and cheap to access due to the advance of fracking for its extraction, is still a fossil fuel, and the new analysis finds that it is now the fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide emissions, putting the world at risk of blowing past dangerous global heating thresholds.
“Natural gas is not a bridging fuel. It is a fossil fuel,” said Bill Hare, chief executive of Climate Analytics and lead author of the new report. “Gas is the new coal. Governments, investors and the financial sector must treat it the same way as they do coal: phase it out as soon as possible.”
All gourmet cooks agree: no. That would be a no from a whole lot of other cooks as well. Gas gives control on a stove range like nothing else. It’s also dependable for heat and hot water heaters when the electricity goes out.
This means unabated gas use must peak this decade and then drop sharply, the analysis finds, necessitating a decrease of 30% below last year’s levels by 2030 and then a 65% decrease by 2040. Renewable energy such as solar and wind should be ramped up to take the place of gas, according to the report.
At this point, eliminating gas is beyond putting the genie back in the bottle. Consumers would curb use if the price was not right. But, it is, and the grill, hot water heater, furnace, and stove would not work without it.
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