Letter to the Editor from Jim Warren, NC WARN Executive Director
Regarding “A pipeline to new industry” (op-ed Jan. 13): Every time a Duke Energy executive calls fracked natural gas “clean-burning,” it’s a pivotal lie of omission that very few reporters have been allowed to scrutinize since U.S. utilities began a huge expansion of gas burning. Indeed, natural gas burns cleaner than coal, but gas is mostly methane, which is 80 to 100 times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat, and its effects are immediate. So much unburned gas escapes into the air before reaching the power plant, the fuel is even worse for the climate than coal.
A powerful new NASA-led study concludes that methane emissions from the oil and gas industry have grown rapidly, and NASA’s findings support many earlier studies showing gas is a key driver of global warming. They also bolster the argument that the U.S. fracking boom is linked to soaring global temperatures since 2014, and connected somewhat less directly to the acceleration of extreme weather that’s devastating communities worldwide – including the very people across eastern North Carolina who Duke Energy claims would benefit from its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
As for the economic promises of the ACP: Super-storms and other climate disasters are already heavily penalizing eastern North Carolina in lives, pain and lost property, a price sure to worsen. Instead, Duke Energy should help advance Clean Path 2025, a plan that would create thousands of jobs statewide by quickly replacing fossil fuel electricity with cheaper, reliable on-site solar power with battery backup.