How Environmentalists Try to Defeat Their Own Primary Climate GoalAlan Carlin | May 21, 2016
Environmental organizations would like you to believe that if you just send them more contributions and send more letters to your legislators advocating increased government intervention in the electric power sector to mandate reductions in carbon dioxide emissions that you will help save the world from whatever current version of climate apocalypse they claim will occur if carbon emissions are not drastically reduced. The truth is that the United States has done more to actually reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in recent years than any other country despite never having ratified the Kyoto Protocol. And most environmental organizations have done everything they can to prevent this from happening.
As shown in this new graph from the US Energy Information Administration, CO2 emissions from the electric power sector (the largest source of human-caused CO2) have been reduced by 21% from the high in 2005, and government actions have had little or nothing to do with it.
Rather, it has been done by the independent actions of the fossil fuels markets where they have been allowed to operate largely without government intervention (which largely excludes a few blue states like California and New York, which restrict or prohibit fracking).
So how could this be? The answer is that more widespread use of fracking and other new techniques used by the natural gas industry has greatly lowered the cost of natural gas by greatly expanding supplies. Besides helping many natural gas users, this makes natural gas more competitive with coal and other sources of energy for producing electricity. Burning natural gas emits roughly half the CO2 that coal does per unit of electricity generated. And prior to the imposition of most legal limitations on CO2 emissions this has resulted in substitution of natural gas for coal in generating electricity. Yet environmental organizations oppose the use of fracking whenever possible.
So why send them contributions to “prevent climate change” but which ends up getting used in part to try to reduce fracking, which increases CO2 emissions? If the environmental organizations just ignored the climate and fracking issues everyone would be better off. Their efforts to date in these areas have primarily led to endless political and legal battles and little or no “progress” towards their dubious goal of reducing CO2.