Now that coal has been toppled from its perch as America’s biggest source of power, environmentalists are ready to move on down the fossil fuel list and tackle what they perceive as another enemy of the planet: natural gas. Bloomberg reports:
U.S. environmentalists have vowed to go after gas-fired power plants with the same vengeance they’ve used to force the retirements of hundreds of coal facilities. Even coal miners are warning their fossil fuel kin to beware. Gas producers “will be next on the list of the industries to be destroyed,” says Robert Murray, chief executive officer of U.S. coal miner Murray Energy Corp.
This is a farce, if for no other reason than because natural gas—not environmentalist lobbying or renewables—is responsible for dethroning Old King Coal. A flood of cheap shale gas has been outcompeting coal on price, and this past year the hydrocarbon supplied 33.8 percent of America’s electricity, more than any other source. To put that in perspective, coal made up 30.4 percent of our power production, while wind and solar contributed just 5.6 and 0.9 percent, respectively.
There are several ironies here, first that greens think that somehow their targeting of coal was responsible for its recent downfall, and second that they’re eager to attack the very energy source they should be thanking for this sea change in American energy. After all, natural gas emits far fewer local pollutants and just half as much CO2 as coal, which is the primary reason why U.S. emissions fell three percent this past year.
If there’s any silver lining to this sorry example of the folly of the modern environmental movement, it’s that greens have been proven to be as ineffective as they are misguided. So even as they make natural gas their next “target,” we can rest assured that the shale boom will continue unabated, and make America greener and more energy secure in the process.