114 groups warn Sec. Moniz of LNGs dire climate impacts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Obama administration moves into another year promoting the false climate solution of natural gas, 114 public interest, environmental and faith groups submitted a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz urging him not to support liquefied natural gas exports. In July, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced S. 2638, the Natural Gas Export Certainty Act of 2014, which would expedite the approval of applications to export climate-disrupting LNG. In November, Sen. Hoeven was quoted saying that Sec. Moniz was willing to support his bill with some modifications.
“This bill — and others like it — would signal to the energy industry that the Obama administration supports LNG exports and lead to increased investment, and therefore more fracking and more greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kate DeAngelis, Climate and energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth.
Studies by the Department of Energy and the European Commission have suggested that the huge amounts of energy required to liquefy natural gas actually make the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from liquefied natural gas worse for the climate than coal. The production process for LNG almost doubles the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional natural gas. A Cornell University review of the scientific research also found that even conventional natural gas emits more greenhouse gas emissions than coal or oil.
“Sec. Moniz’s endorsement of such a bill would directly contradict President Obama’s pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions,” DeAngelis said. “If we want to have any chance at averting catastrophic climate disruption, liquefying natural gas to ship it overseas cannot be part of the picture. Instead of increasing reliance on natural gas, President Obama must push for an immediate transition to clean, renewable energy, such as wind and solar, both in the United States and abroad.”
As one of the main ways to get natural gas out of the ground, fracking presents a serious danger to the public and the climate. Fracking damages air quality and water resources, leads to an increase in earthquakes, and emits large amounts of methane — a greenhouse gas that is 87 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a 20 year timeframe. The administration underestimates the seriousness of this fracking byproduct by using outdated warming potentials and incorrect leakage estimates from wells.
“LNG could prove worse for the climate than coal, yet all signs indicate that the Obama administration is continuing to fully embrace it,” DeAngelis said. “This support for LNG will be catastrophic for the climate, but the administration still has the chance to reject LNG and its devastating impacts.”