Natural gas just won't cut it in the long run

2011-5-16

Natural gas just won't cut it in the long run
Rep. Kevin McCarthy and two members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform met in Bakersfield on May 6 to urge that federal regulations to facilitate extracting oil and natural gas be "streamlined." The committee spent government money to discuss only one point of interest: natural gas.

Natural gas is primarily methane with carbon dioxide and longer hydrocarbons; hydrocarbons are burned to make heat. Methane and carbon dioxide are the most prevalent greenhouse gases. Natural gas is now the least air-polluting way to power buses and should soon be used to power trucks. In order to make global warming less severe, however, I think natural gas should never be produced after 2050.

The committee said that natural gas produces less carbon dioxide when producing an amount of energy than coal does. This is true in the laboratory, but in the real world there are leaks of methane that significantly lessen this difference.

Increasing nationwide production of oil and natural gas would at first provide local jobs, but it would also generate greenhouse gases, resulting in climate changes that damage agriculture, putting farmworkers out of work.

To create jobs, we must increase repair and recycling workers; install double-pane windows; insulate and weatherize homes and other buildings; make all roofs white unless the roof is covered with solar panels; and cover parking lots with solar panels, as Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield have done. Aqueducts are another open space that solar panels could cover.

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