Thanks to our shale revolution, the U.S. is now the world’s largest natural gas producer. With production surging, natural gas prices are just a third of what they were a few years ago. Utilities are now using more natural gas than ever for electricity generation, and as a result, U.S. emissions are in sharp decline — since gas produces just half the carbon emissions when burned instead of coal to make electricity.
In fact, over the past few years, no other country has reduced its carbon emissions faster. U.S. emissions are now at their lowest level since 1994. And yet, to many environmentalists, trading one fossil fuel for another is a mistake. But, the carbon reduction benefits of natural gas can’t be ignored.
Some folks would prefer an immediate transition to renewable sources of power, but that’s wishful thinking. Solar and wind power, while important, remain niche contributors to our supply of electricity. Combined, solar and wind still generate less than 5 percent of the nation’s power. Though they’re becoming more cost-effective in sun-drenched states and in the wind-swept plains, they need much more time to become major power contributors in the commonwealth.
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