Letter - The cure for gas indigestionEnergy futurists have assumed that natural gas would be a “bridge fuel” as we transition from coal and oil to clean energy.
To the editor:
Energy futurists have assumed that natural gas would be a “bridge fuel” as we transition from coal and oil to clean energy. Natural gas is more plentiful and is preferred because it burns cleaner than coal and oil. Gas fracturing technology was seen as a lucky development that would bring down the price of natural gas and reduce the need for oil and coal as we combat climate change.
But there’s a problem with natural gas. The true costs of gas mining and shipping are not included in the retail price – costs like the damage to people and animals from methane leakage, safe disposal of the toxic chemicals used, and water lost forever in the fracturing – water needed for agriculture and human survival. Fairness requires that industry accept the responsibility for these costs so taxpayers aren’t saddled with them. Most importantly, government must regulate fracturing to ensure protection of people and animals.
Some of those costs can be paid for through a national tax on coal, oil and natural gas, which would encourage conservation, reward consumers and business for using less of each and create a powerful incentive for investment in clean energy. Investors need that price signal to unleash the greatest job creating machine since the development of the automobile. Currently, clean energy provides 3,200,000 jobs compared to only 800,000 in the dirty fossil fuels; a ratio of four to one.
Polls show the American people accept the need for a carbon tax, even if it adds a few cents to their gas or utility bills, especially if the revenue is returned to citizens as a bonus. Economists and many independent studies recommend a market-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax. With the election behind us, President Obama has a limited window of opportunity to convince a reluctant Congress.