Most environmentalists would cheer the discovery of cheaper ways to generate electricity from wind or solar power. They would lament the news that prices are dropping for dirty fuels like coal or oil. But what about natural gas? Are abundant supplies and low prices for natural gas good for the environment–or not? Is natural gas a “bridge” to a clean energy future? Or is it a detour?
These aren’t hypothetical questions, of course. Natural gas supplies are growing and prices are down. As The Walt Street Journal reported last year:
A massive natural-gas discovery… in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation’s energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.
…Huge new fields also have been found in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural-gas demand.
Some people will tell you this flood of natural gas will displace coal, and thereby reduce carbon emissions. This was the theme of a recent [click to continue…]