It is becoming apparent that the establishment Environmental community has made its bed with the natural gas industry. In the above video, you will see and hear Carl Pope, the long time Executive Director of the Sierra Club and its future Chairman, extolling the virtues of natural gas. He talks about how abundant it is in America, how it produces 50% of the carbon dioxide compared to burning coal in a power plant to create electricity and how it is a viable substitute vehicle fuel in heavy trucks and automobiles. (Note: It is debatable to assert the ratio of CO2 released by gas versus coal as a fixed number since there are several other factors that must be considered including the efficiency of the generator, the distance that the fuel must be transported, and whether or not the gas is imported in the form of LNG. )
Pope’s talking points are virtually identical to the ones issued by the American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), which receives essentially all of its income from the natural gas industry. Though there are people that want to draw a bright line between natural gas and oil in the collective mind of the public, the physical reality is that gas and oil often come out of the same hole in the ground, they are extracted and processed by the same companies, and they are, in fact, both similar compounds with somewhat different lengths in their hydrocarbon chains. There are even places in the world where natural gas is “upgraded” to become oil for transportation purposes in a process called “gas to liquids”.
When people label themselves as “Environmentalists” and spend their professional lives telling others that their behavior in trying to live comfortable lives is somehow wrong, it is a bit strange to see them touting the benefits of a fuel that is very similar to the one they criticize. After all, would IBM get praised if their manufacturing process for transformers had put only 50% as much PCB into the Hudson?