“FREEDOM GAS” — WHAT THE FRACK??!

Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump has continued where President Barack Obama and Sec. Hillary Clinton left off, pushing natural gas at home and abroad, ultimately dooming the biosphere… only Trump calls it “freedom gas,” because that’s what his political brand demands.

(Obama called it a “bridge fuel” essential to leaving dirty coal behind… a bogus industry talking point, but the mainstream bought it!)

From the Common Dreams article, “Gas Is a Loser, and It’s Time to Move On — Report Debunks Myth that Gas Can Help Fight Climate Crisis”:

“While acknowledging that methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure is a serious problem, OCI argues that merely reducing methane emissions—a solution pushed by the Obama administration—would not make natural gas a climate-friendly energy source.

“OCI’s report—titled ‘Burning the ‘Gas Bridge’ Myth: Why Gas is Not Clean, Cheap, or Necessary’ (pdf)—details five reasons why natural gas cannot be part of any solution that aims to confront the climate crisis with the ambition that the latest science says is necessary to avert catastrophic warming:

“1. Gas Breaks the Carbon Budget: The economically recoverable oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently producing and under-construction extraction projects would take the world far beyond safe climate limits. Further development of untapped gas reserves, including new shale wells, is inconsistent with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement. Even if global coal use were phased out overnight, already-developed reserves of oil and gas would push the world above 1.5°C of warming. There’s simply no room for more gas.

“2. Coal-to-Gas Switching Doesn’t Cut It: Climate goals require the energy sector to be decarbonized by mid-century. This means that both coal and gas must be phased out. Replacing coal plants with new gas plants will not cut emissions by nearly enough, even if methane leakage is kept to a minimum. Current plans for gas production growth drastically overshoot climate safe models and are a bridge to climate disaster.

“3. Low-Cost Renewables Can Displace Coal and Gas: The dramatic and ongoing cost declines for wind and solar disrupt the business model for gas in the power sector. Wind and solar are already cheaper to build and operate than coal and gas in most markets. Cost is clearly not a prohibitive factor to adding renewable generation capacity, whether to replace fossil fuel capacity or to meet rising demand.

“4. Gas Is Not Essential for Grid Reliability: Wind and solar require balancing, but gas is not the only, nor the best, resource available for doing so. Battery storage is fast becoming competitive with gas plants designed for this purpose (known as ‘peakers’). Wind and solar plants that are coupled with battery storage are also becoming a competitive ‘dispatchable’ source of energy. Managing high levels of wind and solar on the grid requires optimizing a wide range of technologies and solutions, including battery storage, demand response, and transmission. There is no reason to favor gas as the primary solution.

“5. New Gas Infrastructure Locks In Emissions: Multibillion-dollar gas infrastructure built today is designed to operate for decades to come. Given the barriers to closing down infrastructure ahead of its expected economic lifespan, it is critical to stop building new infrastructure, the full lifetime emissions of which will not fit within Paris-aligned carbon budgets.

“‘Despite desperate attempts by the oil and gas industry to persuade policymakers that their products have a future in a climate-safe world, a rational look at the data clearly shows otherwise,’ Lorne Stockman, report author and senior research analyst for Oil Change International, said in a statement. ‘Any way you slice it—be it cost, reliability, or climate—gas is a loser and it’s time to move on.’

“OCI’s report comes as natural gas production and exports are reaching new heights under the Trump administration’s polluter-friendly agenda.

“In a press release on Tuesday, U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes touted the White House’s efforts to spread ‘freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy.’

“According to OCI, such efforts are a ‘recipe for climate breakdown.’

“With the Trump administration aggressively pushing natural gas at home and abroad…”

*        *        *

With the Trump administration aggressively pushing fossil fuels at home and abroad… we’ve seen virtually no change from one administration to the next. Sec. Clinton’s State Department was notorious for pushing other nations to adopt fracking. Trump is merely following suit, doing precisely as his old chum, Hillary, did.

And President Obama became the #1 president in U.S. history for domestic oil production, which he increased 88%, per Forbes Magazine. Number One, even as the climate catastrophe was exploding — whereas Texas oilman, George W. Bush, ironically, presided over annual declines of U.S. oil production.

And when Obama became the first U.S. president to open up the Arctic for oil drilling, climate experts, including Bill McKibben, responded unequivocally, saying that such a move “absolutely had to be off limits if we are to have any hope” — that opening up the Arctic for Shell and friends “fatally undermined” Obama’s environmentalist rhetoric and record.

Typical Obama: extinguishing hope and undermining his eloquence with policies worthy of Donald Trump. Policies nearly identical to Trump’s, in fact… buried under artful words and considerable personal grace and dignity.

But what more could we expect from the president who fought to make the Paris Climate Accords a toothless placebo, while millions of American “liberals” cheered? Obama destroyed the international consensus that had formed behind legally enforceable carbon emissions limits and legal liability for polluters. And yet the faux-left pretended he’d accomplished something major for the environment! (Making politicians like Obama more dangerous, ironically, than a scumbag like Donald Trump! At least people notice when Trump tries to surrender the biosphere and future habitability of the planet to industry marauders. Whereas under smooth-talking Democrats, the center-left nods approvingly and goes to sleep while the planet burns.)

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