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Obama Calls Natural Gas ‘Bridge Fuel’

January 30, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

Obama Energy ManageIn his 2014 State of the Union address this week, President Obama said his “all-of-the-above energy strategy” is working, largely thanks to natural gas, which if extracted safely is a “bridge fuel” that can power the economy with less carbon pollution than traditional fossil fuels, while the country transitions to cleaner sources of energy.

He said: “Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built.”

The President also highlighted solar, saying “Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.”

“We are extremely pleased that the President of the United States acknowledged the strength of the American solar industry and that the White House highlighted our new jobs data showing that 143,000 Americans now work in the solar industry,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director and president of The Solar Foundation.

The President said he is directing his administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution emitted from power plants.

Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director, issued the following statement in response to the speech. “Unfortunately, the sum total of the President’s commitments fall short of what American families need to ensure a safe, healthy planet for our children. We can’t drill or frack our way out of this problem. Make no mistake – natural gas is a bridge to nowhere. If we are truly serious about fighting the climate crisis, we must look beyond an ‘all of the above’ energy policy and replace dirty fuels with clean energy.”


3 comments on “Obama Calls Natural Gas ‘Bridge Fuel’

  1. Michael Brune is wrong about this. Burning natural gas in place of burning petroleum or coal; reduces CO2 emissions. That makes natural gas a desirable ‘bridge fuel’ that can help in the short term to reduce the CO2 intensity of our electricity production and of our transportation sectors – while we continue to work towards a longer term solution involving truly green and renewable alternatives.
    One need look no further than the recent statistic – quoted by the President – showing that the U.S. has reduced GHG pollution more than any other nation on Earth. That reduction is due, in significant part, to the swithing from coal to natural gas in the electricity production sector. The ‘bridge fuel’ concept of natural gas clearly does work to reduce CO2 emissions in the short term.

  2. The harvesting, distribution, and use of natural gas is an environmental disaster. Wells use and pollute millions of gallons of water in areas already under water stress from drought, many in important agricultural regions. The chemicals used in fracking poison ground and surface water, contaminate homes. Methane in ground water creates severe fire hazard and contaminates homes. Methane emissions from the sourcing and distribution of natural gas offset the possible benefit from burning gas because the emissions are 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
    The US supporting the natural gas industry is like a crack addict who will sell its mother for a fossil fuel fix.
    Michael Brune is spot on – natural is a bridge to nowhere – renewables are the only answer.

  3. OK – let’s see some links to independent and objective analyses and data that support some of the claims you make. Show data that proves significant contamination of ground and surface water that in turn contaminates homes. Actual data. And other links proving that fugitive methane emissions offset the CO2 benefits of natural gas vs. coal – again, actual data.
    If you can prove your claims to me, then I will listen. But although I used to be a fracking skeptic, I have since realized that all these oft-repeated claims have not been backed up by much hard evidence, and are therefore unlikely to actually be true. And since AGW is a demonstrably true problem, then use of methane as a bridge fuel makes perfect sense.
    I await your references.

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