Natural gas and propane serve as excellent low-cost fuels for heating and cooking. Last year, natural gas use grew faster than renewables in the United States. But advocates of green energy policies would eliminate gas for heating and cooking.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, since 2007, U.S. consumption of natural gas increased by 31 percent, rising from 23 percent to 30 percent of the nation’s primary energy consumption.
Gas displaced coal as the preferred fuel for electrical power plants. This is the primary reason U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell 13 percent, the most of any major nation.
Environmental groups call for society to “electrify everything.” Their plan would eliminate all forms of hydrocarbon combustion, such as gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, and natural gas and propane used for heating and cooking.
These would be replaced by plug-in electric vehicles, heat pumps, and electric stoves, grills, and water heaters. Green energy advocates want us to use electric appliances that run off the grid, increasingly powered by wind and solar energy, rather than natural gas and coal.
But the trends appear to be going the other way.
Last year, from 2017 to 2018, renewable energy sources increased only from 8.6 percent to 8.7 percent of the country’s energy consumption. Between those two years, natural gas consumption rose from 28.7 percent to 30.6 percent of U.S. energy needs.
Americans like their gas appliances. Natural gas furnaces tend to be lower cost than heat pumps for homes in northern states. Burners on gas stoves boil water faster than stoves that use electric coils. Propane provides excellent low-cost energy for rural areas not connected to the gas-line network. And we all like our propane barbecue grills.
Since people prefer gas appliances, the green movement must resort to bans to force people to eliminate hydrocarbons. In July, Berkeley, California became the first U.S. city to ban natural gas appliances in new single- and multi-family homes.
Nations and cities in Europe plan to ban cars using internal combustion engines and diesel-fueled vehicles. Green energy policies require coercion.
Supporters of this electrification trend contend that it will substantially reduce human-caused global warming. But there isn’t the slightest evidence that bans on hydrocarbon fuels and vehicles, if enacted, will have a measurable effect on global temperatures.
Consumers, maybe it’s time to push back against foolish environmental policies before you lose your gas appliances.
“The Invading Sea” is part of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.