Hank Campbell at Science 2.0 has a great post on natural gas and climate change. After noting that the IPCC reported that methane has 23x the global warming effect as CO2 (though CO2 lasts longer), Campbell mentions a couple recent studies “that methane will cause global warming regardless of CO2″:1
What changed? Well, CO2 emissions went down, and it wasn’t due to the $72 billion in taxpayer money which included solar panel subsidies or the afterthought of wind power or the other get-rich-quick schemes in alternative energy we have tried since 2009 – it even happened without nuclear power, the best and most viable zero-emissions energy of them all. It also happened without banning existing energy. The big change instead came because America switched to natural gas, and that was thanks to science and the free market. Due to that switch, energy emissions haven’t looked this good in 20 years. Coal emissions haven’t looked this good in 30 years.
Believe it or not, to environmental fundraisers, that is a really bad thing.
With CO2 emissions dropping, activists have started to wind up the machine against methane and they note it is worse than CO2 – without mentioning that it is short-lived or that it is the primary component in cleaner natural gas. Instead, ‘natural’ is being removed from the term completely and replaced with ‘shale’.
The answer to climate change according to many environmentalists is to just throw money at it:
Environmentalists…who know nothing at all about how real innovation works think they can just throw money at one thing and penalize another and capitalism magic happens. The real world, outside of academia and fundraising brochures, is a lot messier. Like evolution, innovation has starts and stops, sometimes it tries a few times and fails. What has never worked is assuming that if we spend 100X as much money, the process will go 100X as fast.
Environmentalists should be happy. Unfortunately, many are too busy worried about their pet agendas.