Natural Gas — The Solution in Front of Us

The International Energy Agency is out with a report that global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions stayed flat for the second year in a row. Good news, and further proof that — as we have long noted that and as the United States has shown — climate and economic progress are not mutually exclusive. But, sadly, with its overemphasis on the — important — contribution by renewable energy sources, the IEA is contributing to an environment where the lessons of the U.S. model are being lost.

As the IEA notes, China and the United States both registered a decline in energy-related CO2 in 2015, meanwhile: “The decline observed in the two major emitters was offset by increasing emissions in most other Asian developing economies and the Middle East, and also a moderate increase in Europe.”

IEA credits the U.S. decline to a large market-driven fuel switch:

A fuel switch that has continued our decade-long climate progress:

Regarding China, IEA credits an “economic restructuring towards less energy-intensive industries and the government’s efforts to decarbonise electricity generation” while giving a shout-out to hydro and wind, which is great, seriously, we need all the energy we can get, and maybe it will stir the U.S. to lift some of the regulatory and legal obstacles that so often hamper hydropower and other energy development here at home. But a myopic, renewables only, view of our global energy system does not serve a world in need of energy AND environmental improvement. So next time, IEA, let’s not forget natural gas; the Chinese certainly haven’t.

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