Too many people have decided to go all-in on natural gas, despite the obvious risk to the atmosphere: Many concerned about climate change, including President Obama, have embraced hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. In a recent climate speech, the president went so far as to lump gas with renewables as “clean energy.”
As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not “clean.” Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a “bridge” to a renewable energy future — it’s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments.
Methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though it doesn’t last nearly as long in the atmosphere. Still, over a 20-year period, one pound of it traps as much heat as at least 72 pounds of carbon dioxide. Its potency declines, but even after a century, it is at least 25 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. When burned, natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, but methane leakage eviscerates this advantage because of its heat-trapping power.
It’s nice to see that those who actually care about future generations are actually doing something about that.
In the meanwhile: Lake Mead is at an all time low level:
Drought in the southwestern U.S. will deplete the vast Lake Mead this week to levels not seen since Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir on the Colorado River was filled in the 1930s, federal water managers said Tuesday.
The projected lake level of about 1,080 feet above sea level will be below the level of about 1,082 feet recorded in November 2010 and the 1,083-foot mark measured in April 1956 during another sustained drought.
And, Miami is drowning:
It is an unedifying experience but an illuminating one – for this once glamorous thoroughfare, a few blocks from Miami Beach’s art deco waterfront and its white beaches, has taken on an unexpected role. It now lies on the front line of America’s battle against climate change and the rise in sea levels that it has triggered.
“Climate change is no longer viewed as a future threat round here,” says atmosphere expert Professor Ben Kirtman, of the University of Miami. “It is something that we are having to deal with today.”
While I tend to view the mass of “humanity” as maggots – a few will evolve and escape, the vast majority will consume the host and then die – I do have a real concern for my grandchildrens’ future. A generation ago Nancy Reagan told Americans to “just say no” to drugs. Now, it’s time for Americans to tell Washington to “just say no” to fracking, to tar sands, to power that pollutes. Our addiction to fossil fuels has to end before we’re found lying in the gutter of history. Before we kill our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren, off.