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Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Climate change and energy sources

Natural gas could be a solution

Contractors work on a natural-gas power plant under construction in Utah. The administration has been upbeat on natural gas. [George Frey/Bloomberg.]

Contractors work on a natural-gas power plant under construction in Utah. The administration has been upbeat on natural gas. [George Frey/Bloomberg.]

There can be no denying that human-caused global warming is taking place. The scientific evidence is incontrovertible. [“Methane risk,” Business, July 7.]

The question remains: What is the best way to ameliorate this problem?

Obviously, the warming threat should motivate countries throughout the world to adopt sustainable forms of power generation from solar and wind sources.

Unfortunately, these sources are not ideal for all of civilization’s energy needs. This is particularly true with regard to the transportation of people and goods, where the sun and wind cannot produce an intense enough burst of power.

The current answer for these transportation needs lies with natural gas. Natural gas is an extremely clean-burning fossil fuel that emits much less global-warming-causing carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels. As the article points out, however, natural gas has its own risks.

Natural gas or methane, in its unburned state, is a much worse pollutant than carbon dioxide. Unchecked leakage of unburned natural gas can neutralize any benefits achieved from using this fuel.

This quandary really can be reduced to one essential question: Are we willing to take the necessary steps to ensure that gas production, transmission and use become essentially leak-free? While that may seem tough, it is by no means unachievable. It requires the necessary regulations and investment in infrastructure.

I certainly hope the cynics and critics, who declare defeat at the first problem that surfaces, are not allowed to torpedo the use of a very promising answer to our short-term energy needs.

Tom Krebsbach, Brier

Comments | More in Environment, Politics | Topics: energy, environment, fossil fuels

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