“We need to have a domestic energy policy that is for America to be independent, on our own energy within 8 years.”
Rick Perry – Trump Administration’s pick for Energy Secretary
American energy independence isn’t the real goal driving the expansion of our natural gas infrastructure. The real plan is to export US natural gas to a swiftly expanding global market. Contracts for new import and export facilities, pipelines and related facilities are being signed all over the world. It’s estimated demand for natural gas globally will grow 50% by 2040. Once this physical infrastructure is in place it will be virtually impossible to reverse our commitment to fossil fuels for decades to come.
To serve this new market, it’s expected three million fracked gas wells will need to be drilled and completed. Innumerable compressor stations, dehydration stations, storage facilities and pipelines will be needed to meet the supply needs of new export facilities. Much of this new infrastructure will be placed in populated areas, even in neighborhoods near schools and parks. Each fracked gas well only produces well for a few years after completion, which means a constant race to drill new wells to keep up with demand. The result will be a wave of dirty boom-and-bust development across large parts of the country and the industrialization of many rural landscapes.
Natural gas is ninety-five percent methane. Over its first ten years in the atmosphere, methane has roughly eighty-six times the warming effect of CO2. New research has shown that methane leakage rates are far higher than previously estimated. Some estimates make methane dirtier than coal from a global warming perspective. And leakage rates are likely to be far higher in countries with even laxer regulation than the United States, where the political influence of the oil industry has largely destroyed attempts to impose meaningful oversight.
What we’re really firing up here is the global methane industry. We’re answering the problem of greenhouse gas emissions by firing up a global methane industry. No one is calculating how much methane will be released globally or how these emissions and the carbon from burning all that methane will affect our chances of not frying the planet. Yet, the decision to answer our energy needs with natural gas has already been made.
Natural gas was presented to the public as a “bridge fuel” to a greener energy future. In reality, the plan to launch a global methane industry that would last for decades was always the real goal. The oil industry and the government officials and agencies they control have ensured that America will become little more than an extraction base serving a vast export industry. Americans will not even get cheap energy out of the deal. With the rise of exports, gas prices here in America are expected rise.
Despite these obvious downfalls, business plans were written and put into play. The price per barrel of oil is again rising. Global demand is rising. Decisions have been made. Twenty-five-year contracts have been signed by people in search of profits instead of the public good. America had no choice about her energy future. The choice was already made for us.