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Chart Attack
The Shale Boom's Green Merit, Visualized

That gaping maw formed by those two diverging lines in the above graph is proof of a profane truth your average environmentalist is loathe to hear: shale gas is fracking green.

The chart, sourced from the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Review, shows a spike in natural gas consumption in latter half of last decade, and a reduction in coal consumption that seems to mirror the shale-induced spike. Fracking unlocked massive new reserves of natural gas previously trapped in shale rock formations, and in so doing flooded the U.S. with a glut of cheap gas. Coal has struggled to compete with this new player, which explains its precipitous decline in recent years.

So what’s green about this development? Coal emits roughly double the amount of greenhouse gases that natural gas does; in fact, burning coal is just about the most environmentally damaging energy option available. The shale boom’s gain has been coal’s loss, and in turn, coal’s loss has been Gaia’s gain. More of this, please.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    The goal is to keep flooding the U.S. with cheap gas. The cheap part is more opposed by the producers than by environmentalists.

    • walleyekiller

      Actually, cheap gas is opposed by both. When energy is abundant and priced competitively consumers use more than when it is expensive.

      What that means is economic activity which benefits the entire nation, of course the hard core environmentalist (read leftist imbecile) is against that set of circumstances.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Global Warming” is the Greatest Hoax in history, and pandering to the environmentalists is a chump’s game.

  • Andrew_DeMoray

    “Coal has struggled to compete with this new player, which explains its precipitous decline in recent years.” And the EPA making it a policy goal to shut down coal-powered electrical generation plants has contributed as well. It is hardly a free market in power generation, policy matters.

  • Frank Natoli

    “burning coal is just about the most environmentally damaging energy option available”
    Damaging? Resulting in naturally fewer below zero Fahrenheit nights? Northwestern NJ had more below zero Fahrenheit nights last winter than in my entire life, 62 years on the planet. Hey, Wally, people in semi-rural areas, like myself, do not have access to natural gas, must use fuel oil, whose costs make heating one’s home UNAFFORDABLE with all those below zero Fahrenheit nights. Get it? What’s that? Get a pellet stove, burn wood, like my ancestors 50,000 years ago? Check the price of pellets? After last winter, they zoomed from $190/ton to $250/ton. How about we stop strangling fossil fuels, coal, oil, the works?

  • louis_wheeler

    One thing unmentioned is that pollution is wasteful. Coal can be liquified to make the soot which is currently thrown into the air useful and clean burning. Slowly heating coal in a huge vat fractionally distils it into gaseous, liquid and solid portions. The gas used to heat the vat; the liquid is refined into fuels. Even the solid ash portion is useful on farms. It is just a matter of costs; fracked oil and gas are much cheaper for now.

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