Famous economist Dr. Stephen Moore comments on a new Department of Energy report in Investors Business Daily.
The U.S. Department of Energy published data last week with some amazing revelations — so amazing that most Americans will find them hard to believe. As a nation, the United States reduced its carbon emissions by 2% from last year. Over the past 14 years, our carbon emissions are down more than 10%. On a per-unit-of-GDP basis, U.S. carbon emissions are down by closer to 20%.
Even more stunning: We’ve reduced our carbon emissions more than virtually any other nation in the world, including most of Europe.
How can this be? We never ratified the Kyoto Treaty. We never adopted a national cap-and-trade system, or a carbon tax, as so many of the sanctimonious Europeans have done.
The answer isn’t that the EPA has regulated CO2 out of the economy. With strict emission standards, the EPA surely has started to strangle our domestic industries, such as coal, and our electric utilities. But that’s not the big story here.
The primary reason carbon emissions are falling is because of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking. Some readers now are probably thinking I’ve been drinking or have lost my mind. Fracking technology for shale oil and gas drilling is supposed to be evil. Some states have outlawed it. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have come out against it in recent weeks. Schoolchildren have been bombarded with green propaganda about all the catastrophic consequences of fracking.
They are mostly lies. Fracking is simply a new way to get at America’s vast storehouse of tens of trillions of dollars worth of shale oil and gas that lies beneath us, coast to coast — from California to upstate New York. Fracking produces massive amounts of natural gas and, as a consequence, natural gas prices have fallen in the past decade from above $8 per million BTUs to closer to $2 this year — a 75% reduction — due to the spike in domestic supplies.
This free fall in prices means that America is using far more natural gas for heating and electricity and much less coal. Here is how the International Energy Agency put it: “In the United States, (carbon) emissions declined by 2%, as a large switch from coal to natural gas use in electricity generation took place.”
It also observes that the decline “was offset by increasing emissions in most other Asian developing economies and the Middle East, and also a moderate increase in Europe.” We are growing faster than they are and reducing emissions more than they are, yet these are the nations that lecture us on polluting. Go figure.
The article goes on to note that green / environmentalists groups continue to oppose fracking.
Now, you might still say “but fracking is unsafe. I saw it in a Michael Moore documentary that they showed in my Foundations of Political Correctness class in graduate school!” Yes, well, I have something even more authoritative than such documentaries. I have peer-reviewed studies.
From Investors Business Daily.
Whether naturally occurring or not, environmentalists claim that fracking would release huge amounts of what they consider the most potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas, far outweighing the value of producing huge quantities of clean-burning natural gas.
Now comes a study, conducted by scientists at the University of Texas and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — and co-financed by one of the highest-profile environmentalists in the country — that shows much smaller amounts of methane emissions associated with fracking, far less than environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Agency have contended.
[…]The study, billed as the first to measure the actual emissions of methane from natural gas wells, finds these emissions were, in some cases, only about 2% of the most recent national estimate by the EPA in 2011. An upcoming EPA rule, effective January 2015, requires all methane to be captured when liquids are removed after drilling.
[…]“For those wells with methane capture or control, 99% of the potential emissions were captured or controlled,” the study notes.
[…]Thanks in large part to fracking, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 were the lowest in the U.S. since 1994, at 5.3 billion metric tons. With the exception of 2010, emissions have declined every year since 2007.
OK, so now that we know that the radical environmentalists are wrong, let’s ask why they are wrong. And here, I can only speak from my experience of dealing with secular leftist co-workers at work, and young evangelical leftists in church.
What I have found is that environmental extremism functions as a kind of substitute religion for the secular left, including young evangelicals on the political left. They like environmentalism as a substitute religion, because they get to do behaviors that most religions would call “sinful”, while still feeling all clean and good because they recycle cans. Instead of having to actually be morally good, they can just turn their lights off for an hour per year during “Earth Hour”. Much less constraining than traditional morality.