The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) policy paper, Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel – Measuring the Bridge, recognized the role natural gas plays in phasing out the nation’s use of dirtier fossil fuels, but concluded specific plans are needed to chart a course away from all fossil fuel use to achieve long-lasting greenhouse gas reductions.
“With the exception of a few bumps and starts, the nation’s history with natural gas use has been to consume as much as we can, as quickly as possible,” said Steve Weissman, CSE’s senior policy advisor and the paper’s author. “As far as fossil fuels go, gas is perceived to be cheap, plentiful, versatile and cleaner than coal or oil. However, continued new investment in gas-fired plants thwarts efforts to stabilize greenhouse gasses.”
Coupled with ever-growing environmental concerns about large methane leaks and fracking, the paper suggested a need for policymakers and regulators to establish firm timelines to nearly eliminate natural gas from the nation’s energy portfolio for electrical power generation by 2050.
“Given the Energy Information Administration’s projections, unless the nation adopts and enacts policies to reduce reliance on natural gas over the next 35 years, the country will fail to meet long-term targets, even if it eliminates 100% of all other greenhouse gas emissions,” Weissman said.