That’s the question energy-blogger John Hanger asks, in a post extolling the greenhouse-gas and pollution-reducing virtues of the shale-gas boom (emph. mine):
Yet, despite the massive carbon, mercury, soot, and lead benefits provided by the rise of gas, the bashing of gas is now politically correct, even a political imperative, in some but not quite all environmental circles. In green precincts, denying the environmental benefits of natural gas is becoming as required as denying climate change is in conservative politics.
One billion tons of carbon dioxide avoided is the result when one adds together the 630 million tons of carbon avoided from coal plant cancellations tracked by the Sierra Club with the 450 million tons avoided by the decrease in coal’s market share and corresponding increases in natural gas and renewable energy. That’s a huge amount equal to about 18% of US energy related carbon emissions and 3% of world carbon pollution.
I don’t usually care for the invocation of holocaust denial in climate discussions, so I’m unlikely to start responding to charges of climate-denial with shale-gas denial (though, it’s tempting!). But Hanger raises a point that will increasingly haunt environmentalists: The benefits of the shale-gas boom are so tremendous that environmental opposition can only seem increasingly irrational.