Energy

NYTimes Columnist Is Overselling The Supposed ‘Green Energy Boom’

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is claiming that Republican presidential candidates “barely address” the topic of green energy and have thus become “fossilized” by ignoring an “era of spectacular progress in wind and solar energy.”

“While politicians on the right may talk about encouraging innovation and promoting an energy revolution, they’re actually defenders of the energy status quo, part of a movement trying to block anything that might disrupt the reign of fossil fuels,” Krugman wrote in his Monday oped.

But Krugman is overselling this supposed “green energy boom,” according to an investigation of the data by The Daily Caller New Foundation. While solar and wind power have grown in recent years, they still only make up a tiny fraction of the U.S. energy mix, 0.4 percent for solar and 4.4 percent for wind in 2014. All the while oil and natural gas production have boomed, and now the U.S. gets nearly one-third of its electricity from gas.

Last year, the United States was the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Natural gas is quickly replacing coal as a source of electricity and booming oil production has caused gasoline prices to fall dramatically. In fact, EIA predicts unconventional sources of natural gas and oil will make the United States virtually energy self-sufficient by 2030 — solar and wind just don’t get the job done.

Wind and solar companies, on the other hand, remain deeply dependent on government subsidies and generate power unpredictably.

Ironically, Krugman argues that “climate science denial” has made Republicans wary of solar and wind power. Basically, he argues that Republicans don’t like green energy because it’s being championed as a way to fight global warming. But what Krugman doesn’t mention is that natural gas has done way more to fight global warming than green energy — much to the chagrin of environmental activists. Energy experts predict that shale gas will continue to play a role in lower global levels of carbon dioxide emissions.

For example, the International Energy Agency said the recent drop in U.S. emissions was the result of “increased availability of natural gas, linked to the shale gas revolution.” Likewise, Cornell University researchers found that “shale gas has a GHG (green house gas) footprint that is half and perhaps a third that of coal.” A Carnegie Mellon University study — that was partially funded by the Sierra Club — stated that “natural gas from the Marcellus shale has generally lower life cycle GHG emissions than coal for production of electricity… by 20-50% depending upon plant efficiencies and natural gas emissions variability.”

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.