Thursday, April 26, 2012

T. Boone Pickens says: Let's transform energy with Natural Gas

Mr. Pickens says from the outset that he believes in global warming, which I must assume he means to say human caused global warming.  He then launches into a pitch to sell us on a large-scale switch to natural gas to fuel our society.  Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and will only continue the path of global warming.   While Natural Gas is routinely believed to be cleaner, some research has shown it isn't, especially in the first stage after a frack-job when there's a lot of methane escaping into the atmosphere.

His approach is from national energy security.  The current dominance of oil to fuel our society of course undermines the U.S. national security, because oil is located in countries that aren't exactly friendly to the U.S.  Mr. Pickens calls these countries The Enemy, and one gathers that he thinks any OPEC country is part of that Enemy.  The numbers are that $3 trillion per year goes into buying fossil fuels, and of that amount $1 trillion flows to OPEC, which Mr. Pickens calls the Greatest Transfer of Wealth in History.  But, yes, of course, this is funding countries that are not friendly to the U.S.  Why, then, do the Republican politicians want to keep us on the fossil oil bandwagon?

Mr. Pickens claims there is plenty of natural gas available.  The technology enabling this is hydraulic fracturing.  In his view there's nothing wrong with that technology, he's done thousands of frack-jobs and not had a problem.  There's a lot of people who disagree with him.

His position is one of hypocrisy.  On the one hand he believes in global warming, on the other hand he's pushing a fuel that will continue the fossil fuel dependency behind human caused global warming.  The causitive factor to human caused global warming is digging up ancient fossil fuels and burning them, releasing more carbon into the ecosphere.  The way to stop this is to stop using fossil fuels.

But could natural gas be a bridge fuel to get us somewhere?  That's the core of his pitch, that it's a bridge fuel, and because he's an old guy that's about to die, he doesn't care about where that bridge leads.  It's up to us to solve the problems of adopting natural gas on a big scale.

There is already a large-scale adoption of natural gas in big trucks, as Mr. Pickens suggests.  The big trucks represent a large amount of fossil fuel/oil use, and because they're running dirty diesel engines the air pollution from those trucks is horrible and known to be carcinogenic.  His suggestion is that natural gas is cleaner than diesel, making it a better fuel.  But, what if our society adopts natural gas and then stops there?  We'll still be on the path of human caused global warming.