Letter: We have good, affordable alternatives to fossil fuels
Thanks for the excellent letter, “Natural gas is still a fossil fuel,” which points out that replacing coal with natural gas is not a fix for global warming. The Union of Concerned Scientists agrees:
“Methane — a primary component of natural gas — leaks from drilling sites and pipelines. It is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. An estimated one to nine percent of all natural gas produced escapes into the atmosphere, equivalent to the global warming emissions from 26 – 231 typical-sized coal power plants (600 megawatts). This methane leakage poses additional climate risks and erodes the climate benefits of replacing coal with natural gas.”
The natural gas industry is very secretive about its methane emissions, as it is about the toxic chemicals used in fracking, and its political clout keeps those emissions from being measured or regulated. However, you can see a startling and scary visual, using night photography, of the staggering amount of methane that pours out of just one fracked natural gas well in Gasland 2.
Any climate scientist whom isn’t employed by the fossil fuel industry will tell you that any fossil fuel use at this point is dangerous. We’re already over the 350ppm CO2, the safe upper limit for humans. It’s now 400ppm and climbing. We don’t feel the effects yet because it takes about four decades for those emissions to heat up and effect us. And they won’t go away for millennia, so global warming is guaranteed to get much worse and stay that way for a very long time even if we could transition to solar and wind energy overnight.
We have good, affordable alternatives to fossil fuels: solar and wind energy. The Citizens Climate Lobby has an economic plan on their website that’s endorsed by the world’s best economists and doesn’t require government regulations: we tax fossil fuels out of existence by giving all the tax money directly to consumers who buy renewable energy with it because that’s now cheaper than fossil fuels. We also tax imports according to the producer country’s carbon pollution.
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