The strange world of green energy politics

At FoxNews, a reminder that TANSTAAFL:


The United States is leading the world in reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide. And it’s doing so by a wide margin.
Yes, you read that right. The United States – the country that is routinely vilified by the Green/Left for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol or impose carbon taxes or institute a cap-and-trade system – is dramatically cutting its production of carbon dioxide. Proof of that has come from both the International Energy Agency in Paris and the Energy Information Administration in Washington.
But you won’t hear about America’s success at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, or the leftist Center for American Progress. That’s because those very same groups are opposing production of the fuel that’s making those reductions possible: natural gas.
Welcome to the strange world of “green” energy politics where fossil fuels – all of them – are vilified because, well, they aren’t wind, and they aren’t solar. Nevertheless, the facts are readily available for anyone who cares to look at them...
...During many of those years [2007-2010], the Sierra Club supported natural gas because, as the group’s executive director, Michael Brune, put it earlier this year, the fuel could “play a necessary role in helping us reach the clean energy future our children deserve.”
But now the Sierra Club has launched a “beyond natural gas” campaign and the group’s president, Robin Mann is saying that the emergence of natural gas “is particularly frightening.”
A similar stance is evident at Greenpeace, which says that natural gas is “a fossil fuel, with some of the same damning negatives as coal and oil…The extraction of natural gas – especially via fracking – is incredibly harmful to the environment and people's health.” The group says it is opposed to hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) because the process is “wreaking havoc on communities all over the country, as well as on our climate.”
Or consider the statements from Joe Romm, a blogger for the Center for American Progress, who regularly attacks anyone who dares stray from his view that the only answer for the global energy future is wind and solar. On March 1, Romm wrote that natural gas was a “bridge fuel to nowhere.” In January, he was even clearer about his antipathy toward the fuel, writing “We don’t want new gas plants to displace new renewables, like solar and wind.”
To be sure, solar and wind energy are growing fast. Over the first four months of the year, generation of electricity from wind grew by 21 percent and solar production was up by 85 percent. Together, solar and wind generated about 52 terawatt-hours of electricity. That’s a lot of juice. But over that same period, natural gas-fired generators produced 371 terawatt-hours, about seven times as much as solar and wind combined.
Of course, it’s true that natural gas drilling takes a toll. Increased drilling activity has led to a backlash against the industry as more drill rigs are deployed in suburban and exurban regions that have never had drilling before.
But the exact same type of backlash can be seen by looking at the wind industry. Rural communities all over the world are fighting large-scale wind projects and the “energy sprawl” that comes with it. The simple truth is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, particularly when it comes to energy production. Furthermore, given the global backlash against the wind business, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the wind industry isn’t so “green” after all...