Shale gas is RISKY! It might actually help to keep the price of natural gas down (holding projected 10-year price increase to 100% instead of 400% up from current prices). It also will add 870,000 jobs by 2015, up from about 600,000 in 2010, and is currently the largest new job producer in Pennsylvania, for example.
As you can imagine, the current administration is unhappy about this. The plans and hopes that “energy prices will necessarily skyrocket” were made before this new source was a major factor. So the Obama administration has “concerns”:
But recent environmental concerns, combined with shale gas’s important role in the global economy, have prompted the Obama administration and MIT researchers to investigate the resource and its potential impacts.
The article is full of acknowledgments of the tremendous economic benefits of shale gas, and notes that a report found the environmental concerns to be “overstated.” The positive impacts are impressive:
They found that gas prices would rise by about five times the current levels by 2050 without shale gas, under one scenario; electricity prices would also grow. But with shale gas, prices should only about double. The shale input also reduces electricity price growth by 5 percent in 2030 and 10 percent in 2045, compared to a scenario without shale gas.
A report released last month by IHS Global Insight, a global research firm commissioned by America’s Natural Gas Alliance, shows similar results. Prices would drop 10 percent in 2036 with shale, according to IHS, and the industry would add 870,000 U.S. jobs by 2015.
That’s in the next four years (edit: a net increase of more than a quarter-million jobs since 2010). So what’s the problem? It would make it more difficult to force people to pay for more expensive “renewables”:
The continued need for strong renewables prompts concerns, as the study finds that shale use suppresses the development of renewables. Under one scenario, for example, the researchers impose a renewable-fuel mandate. They find that, with shale, renewable use never goes beyond the 25 percent minimum standard they set – but when shale is removed from the market, renewables gain more ground.
They don’t talk about the negative impact on low-income people of forcing one-quarter of energy to come from renewables. That doesn’t matter — the Left is not worried about the poor.
If you get rid of the catastrophic global warming business, the rationale looks like this: “At some point, we’ll run low on these fuels and they’ll become more expensive. That would have bad effects! So let’s make them more expensive now, to force alternatives to look better by comparison.” The “bad effects” — the tax on the poor that nations and states apply though gasoline and similar taxes — would be implemented immediately. For the real desire is to reduce the economic prominence of the West (and particularly the US).
The writer “Zombie” has posted information about the climate catastrophists’ desires to unwind our economy — in this instance, with the global cooling scare that was so prominent when I first got interested in the topic. His writeup, and the scanned pages from the 1970s book, are quite interesting. Here’s his formulation of the general intent:
In order to weaken and eventually destroy the existing industrialized nations, we must devise an ecological “crisis” so severe that only voluntary economic suicide can solve it; and if this first crisis doesn’t materialize as planned, then devise another, and another, even if they flatly contradict our previous claims.
I would agree that this formulation reasonably describes the climate catastrophe movement now — and in the 1970s as well.
EDIT: They’re still hedging their bets, of course, and ice age or runaway Venus can still be invoked, as long as it means we must Do Something Now to stop capitalism. Here’s a new Ice Age article.
Despite the push for “green energy,” the plans for renewables aren’t working out. When allowed to grow naturally, in a free market, they gradually become stronger and more competitive. But when governments “pick winners” and use subsidies and taxes to force behaviors, the results are … unsustainable.
For example, because of US subsidies, wind turbine installations are up 31% in 2011 in the US. But can this be continued? No, of course not. Spain, the biggest wind-turbine country in the world, has just had to cut all subsidies as they’re being driven to poverty by these schemes.
The Obama administration hasn’t given up, though. They hope to force the shutdown of primary energy producers, raising the prices for all, even when renewables cannot compete. The EPA plans to shut down six coal plants this year to get a good start on this.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle