03/29/2014 - US energy policy is stuck on reliance on natural gas. Most Americans understand that by the middle of the century most of our energy will have to be supplied by renewables -- wind, water and solar -- but we seem content to use natural gas for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic policy.
We're running out of time. Writing in Rolling Stone, environmentalist Bill McKibben warned that humans can only emit 564 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 and still have a reasonable chance of keeping the temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius (the threshold for catastrophic consequences). Nonetheless, last year we pumped a record 36 gigatons into the atmosphere; at this rate we'll exceed 564 gigs in about a decade. Writing in the Washington Post, Brad Plumer observed that if we are serious about averting horrific climate change, "[Then] the world can use natural gas for only a brief period before transitioning to carbon-free power. Global gas consumption would have to peak by 2020 or 2030." read more>>>