Natural gas has been promoted as a so-called “transition fuel,” the bridge to renewable energy. Combustion of natural gas emits about half as much carbon as coal, so it has been touted as a potential bridge between an economy that runs mostly on coal and one that runs entirely on renewables.
Despite the fact that natural gas burns cleaner than coal, there are several good reasons why we should focus on renewables and why investment in transition fuels impedes progress:
- Economic resources are better spent on efficiency and renewable energy. The resources and technology exist to move towards 100% renewable energy. Extra investment in this technology only makes it better and cheaper.
- Investing in a transition fuel is a dead end. The money spent on natural gas power facilities and infrastructure takes decades to recuperate. Companies would need to use these facilities for their full lifetimes, delaying the switch to renewables for far too long.
- Investment in natural gas does not incentivize a move to renewable energy. Stakeholders will be actively opposed to laws and regulations that promote clean power at the expense of natural gas companies.
- Energy companies want to export natural gas from the U.S. overseas and are currently building export facilities on the U.S. coasts. The exporting of natural gas will cause increased investment in pipeline infrastructure, increase natural gas fracking in the U.S., expose communities to the potential for catastrophic leaks or explosions, and slow the transition to renewable energy worldwide.
Green America’s role:
Green America is opposed to natural gas fracking, the building of new natural gas infrastructure, and natural gas exports. Working with our allies, we have mobilized our business and individual members to oppose natural gas fracking at the state level, supported increased federal regulation of natural gas wells to reduce leaks, and opposed export facilities on both coasts. (link to blog posts)