By Lynn Bonner
One of the world’s leading climate scientists said the state’s long-range clean energy plan doesn’t go far enough to curb a potent greenhouse gas.
In a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper dated Thursday, Drew Shindell, Nicholas Professor of Earth Science at Duke University, takes aim at methane, a gas more efficient than carbon dioxide at holding heat. Shindell said in the letter that the state should place a “permanent moratorium” on natural gas infrastructure in the state, including new gas plants planned by Duke Energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which the power company is developing with other partners. Natural gas is mostly methane, and it can leak when it is extracted from the ground or flows through pipes.
“In addition to causing possibly irreparable climate damage, such infrastructure is likely to saddle consumers with much greater costs than would a more rapid transition to 100% renewable energy, while also causing additional harm to already vulnerable communities,” wrote Shindell, one of the scientists who helped coordinate sections of International Panel on Climate Change reports in 2013 and 2018. About two dozen former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists and administrators endorsed the letter.
In a telephone interview with reporters, Shindell said Cooper has the opportunity to be a leader in rejecting natural gas.
“We’re urging Gov. Cooper to take the lead,” he said, and provide “an example for the rest of the country, and even for the rest of the world.”
Shindell co-wrote the letter with two former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrators and NC WARN, a nonprofit focused on climate change and a Duke Energy critic.