A new report from the Associated Press says that a dramatic drop in the amount of carbon dioxide output from U.S. energy producers is due to a switch from coal to natural gas. Does this affect your opinion about natural gas drilling?
The Associated Press reported Friday that the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years, surprising many experts.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency, part of the Energy Department, says that, while energy conservation, the weakened American economy and an upsurge in renewable energy sources have played a part, the dominant factor in the CO2 decline is a switch among energy producers from coal to natural gas.
Natural gas is cheaper than coal, and it burns cleaner, but it is still pollusive. Burning natural gas does emit CO2, and extracting it through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has its own environmental impact — though we don’t yet fully understand the magnitude.
Industry officials say that the process is safe if it’s done right, while environmentalists maintain that fracking fluids are pollusive, storing waste water is dangerous, and methane leaks from drill sites contribute to greenhouse gases.
There seems to be one fact we can’t get away from: Producing energy is a dirty business. It’s just a question of how dirty we want it to be.
Are you happy with the reduction in pollution but skeptical of natural gas as a long-term solution? Do you think we should pour more resources into natural gas drilling?