CO2, The Big Picture No One on the Fractivist Fringe Can Apparently See

Cuomo's Legacy - Dick DowneyRichard Downey
Unatego Area Landowners Association



CO2, to the extent it’s an issue at all, is being addressed in a big picture way by natural gas, but too many who say they want a solution refuse to see.

Brian Brock’s recent letter in our local online paper (“Renewables, Not Gas, The Cleaner Way To Go“) misses the forest for the trees. In citing a one year (2018) up-tick in U.S. energy-related CO2, he conveniently skips the long term role of gas in lowering emissions. A week earlier the Energy Information Agency’s three decade (1990 — 2021) emissions report shows CO2 emissions dropped to 1990 levels as shale gas replaced coal at power plants. Before shale, coal generated 56% of our electricity. Today, it generates 24%, with projections of 21% in 2021. This in spite of our population’s growth and our economy’s expansion. Wind and solar contributed but natural gas was the driver.

Here’s why. Gas is cheap. Gas scales up easily to replace coal in an industrial society. Mr. Brock and the “No Gas! No Way!” folks ignore these facts and dismiss a realistic option in reducing greenhouse gas. Instead they support government (Governor Cuomo’s) multiple schemes to force New York ratepayers to pay higher prices for expensive subsidized and/or mandated renewable-powered electricity. They miss the Big Picture.


Energy needs are growing fastest in the Third World. The people of China and India hunger for the same amenities afforded in the West — TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, computers, air conditioners, new homes and infrastructure — all powered by electricity. In the Third World that electricity has been and will continue to be generated by coal. Coal emits twice the CO2 of natural gas. Currently China alone emits more CO2 than the United States AND the EU combined.

The two largest coal companies in the world, China Energy Investments (Shinhoa Group) and Coal India are both state controlled and under their countries’ political leadership. At the Paris Accords that leadership carved out a ten year waiver on emission goals and only a “promise” to set goals in 2030. They are unburdened by treaties. And China and India aren’t the only emerging nations with energy needs. How about Indonesia? Brazil? The continent of Africa?

Natural gas offers an option. It’s competitive in price with and emits half the CO2. It has transformed the energy structure of the United States. It can work elsewhere. We have the gas; other countries have the need, yet Mr. Brock and the antis oppose the pipelines and LNG terminals that could make exports possible.

Here in New York, Mr. Brock and his fellow gas deniers oppose drilling, pipelines, gas-fired power plants, or any upgrade to existing infrastructure. They’re against the Constitution Pipeline, a pipeline that would bring cheap Pennsylvania gas to Upstate towns, New York City, and New England. About half the homes in chilly New England are heated with oil. Consider the possibility of Pennsylvania gas (one third less CO2) replacing that oil.

Locally, the antis are against upgrading the NYSEG gas line serving Oneonta. This upgrade would safeguard winter shortfalls and would meet the stated needs of companies wishing to expand or relocate here. That would mean new jobs, new opportunities to help stem the outflow of young families whose children populate our schools and bring vitality to our communities. The lack of opportunity drives young families elsewhere. However, if any part of a solution involves affordable energy from gas, Mr. Brock and company are against it. Period. They oppose it in the name of climate change.

Let’s get real. Banning gas and gas infrastructure in our little corner of the world may satisfy a need for virtue signaling but will do little to decrease worldwide emissions. China, India, and the rest of the emerging world will continue to electrify, using the cheapest fuel possible. In most parts of the world, that’s coal. We, in turn, should use gas (and renewables, where practical) to continue the erosion of coal-based generation here. Gas exports would meet needs elsewhere These tangible steps would make a difference . . . if the politics would allow.

Richard Downey is a retired New York City schoolteacher and a member of the Unatego Board of Education and the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.

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13 thoughts on “CO2, The Big Picture No One on the Fractivist Fringe Can Apparently See

  1. Let’s be honest. This is all about money and not about “saving the planet” otherwise they would be going after blatant polluters all “low hanging fruit”. Case in point, Renewable Natural Gas from digesters be they at agricultural facilities like farms, vineyards or stockyards could digest polluting wastes that can harm our water and air resources could produce a gas that could be scrubbed and either used on site, or patched into the existing system to offset conventional “fossil” fuel use which also helps conserve supplies for future generations.
    However, they don’t.
    They don’t want to. Collecting money and spending it on themselves and/or crooked politicians that do their bidding is their prime goal.
    That is why they created this “green religion” so they can act like the priests of Ba’al and pick and choose who lives or dies. Josef Stalin would be proud.

    • Spuds, only in fairytales can you live without money.look to germany and see the cost of renewable. It is very, very hart on the people with a fixed income. I come from germany. I have my whole family there, and I do know a lot of what goes on, when it comes to energy. Ideology does not get things done.

    • However, they do.

      I attended a talk given by the NY DEC back in November of last year where projects for “renewable natural gas” were mentioned, much to the consternation of the earnest true believer sitting nearby. She had never heard of methane digesters and landfill gas and was only mollified when it was explained that it had nothing to do with fracking.

      The dairy operation at SUNY Morrisville has had a digester for years and has a state grant to build a much bigger one. Similar digesters are planned for large operations in western NY. Capturing landfill methane has been going on for years in places like Lancaster, PA and Albany, NY.

      Two-thirds of greenhouse gasses in NY are from transportation and heating and cooling housing. That is where one can have the greatest effect for the least cost. As the anti’s try to eliminate more gas and oil, the marginal cost of doing so will rise rapidly; that is the hill you want to fight on. Co-operate with them on retrofitting windows and insulation and resist the use of air-based heat exchangers, which become far less efficient as outside temperatures drop into single digits and lower.

  2. So the argument is, because China and other countries are still using coal, we need to build more pipelines so we don’t have to use coal? In other words, because China is doing a bad thing, we should be allowed to do a less bad thing?

    Why aren’t we working double time to invent and perfect alternative energies instead of building more infrastructure to prolong CO2 emissions from fossil fuels?

    Greed. It’s all about greed.

    • Yes you’re right the greed of the cobalt miners who use children to mine cobalt in the Congo so the Virtue signalers can drive around in they’re Teslas. the Greed of the Rare Earth miners in China so the virtue signalers driving their Teslas can proclaim that by driving around in an expensive 4000 pound metal box with petroleum made tires and on petroleum made roads with foreign mined Lithium, Cobalt and Rare Earths that somehow they are saving the planet. there is a reason that we don’t have enough Rare Earth and Cobalt mines here in the USA, it’s because the EPA won’t allow them because they are so dirty. So it’s better if we just export our pollution to China and the Congo? Wake up and get a clue would you plz!

    • What a cop out, more of an accusation, lessor dirt for dirtier dirt? Clean Energy its a lie, there is nothing clean about solar espeacially if were to come to your backyard where you would fight its production 100xs harder then you bash gas well drilling.
      Windmills HAHA! even ditier then solar but hey look up the sun is shining and its not dirty, the wind is blowing and it feels so good. I ride my unicorn to church in the dark because no one believes in Unicorns except for you of course. US regulations have caused the bankruptcy of every solar project advanced in the USA. Your problem is you believe in the list of the harm when you should be reading a factual list not a penned one by like minded activist. Here read it
      Oh and that so called Wind energy, forget about its havoc on health and the eco-system lets just talk environmental!
      each industrial windmill uses nearly 200 tons of steel, Steel is made from mined iron ore. it takes 224 tones of coal to smelt that steel. Then there is the question of copper? Each industrial sized windmill takes between 6 & 7 thousand pounds of copper, again not found in unicorn scat but mined from the earth. Each windmil from the mining site to the installation site uses upwards of 10,000 gallons of diesel. Your clean energy is far dirtier then my natural gas…. Get educated research



      The toxic problem of not-so-clean energy

      Digital Editor Jack Houghton As the world shuns energy sources of old in pursuit of clean alternatives a very toxic problem has been slowly building in the background.

      During the construction of solar panels the soft, silver, and highly ductile metal cadmium is compressed between sheets of glass – a vital part of how sunlight is converted into electricity so that environmental leaders like Zali Steggall can charge their hypothetical electric cars. It is a process that many – who view technology through a tribal lens – consider to be worthy of replacing coal. The only issue is cadmium is carcinogenic and considered roughly ten times more hazardous than the lead which sits next to it in a typical photovoltaic panel. Panels which are shattered in storms break into tiny fragments and after several months of rainfall the silver metal which once created energy is transformed into a dangerous health hazard. Just like the 16,000 wiped out by hurricane Irma in the Virgin Islands in 2017. The wreckage is pictured above. If not destroyed by wild weather these panels last about two decades. After that point much of their construct becomes useless hunks of toxic waste which will collectively weigh 1500 kilotonnes by 2050 in Australia alone. That figure is roughly 300 times what a nuclear power plant would have created to produce the same energy. But surely those seeking to radically reform Australia’s energy grid through a Green New Deal must have considered this looming ecological crisis? Well, no, according to authors of a study released last year titled “Drivers, barriers and enablers to end-of-life management of solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage systems: A systematic literature review”. As the title suggests the study provided a meta-analysis of 191 research papers into solar panel waste management. Its findings were damning to say the least. “Little attention has been paid to the potential environmental and human health related impacts associated with PV systems, if not managed properly at the end-of-life,” the authors wrote. “PV panel and BESS contain hazardous materials such as lead, lithium, tin and cadmium which can harm the environment and human health if they are not properly managed at the end of life-cycle. “Exposure of heavy metals embedded in both of these technologies will cause various negative health effects. “For example, cadmium is associated with its impact on lung, kidney and bone damages once absorbed into the body whilst exposure to lead will cause damages to nervous system.” The authors even went as far to suggest that the technology should not really be classified as renewable because the issues with waste and the fact many rare minerals cannot be salvaged. They must be mined again and again. “The current linear take-make-consume-dispose economic system practised within PV systems will inevitably undermine renewable status of this technology without an effective end of life strategy,” they said. Questions were also raised about the true CO2 impact of solar panels considering the role mining plays in their formation. These issues don’t mean solar won’t form a crucial part of Australia’s energy grid. What they do mean – however – is we must be far more reasoned and cautious before rapidly seeking to switch 81 per cent of our energy grid from fossil fuel sources to emerging technologies. What is dramatically unhelpful is failed politicians such as Malcolm Turnbull using the tragedy of bushfires to attempt to speed up this process before adequate solutions are found. “Have we now reached the point where at last our response to global warming will be driven by engineering and economics rather than ideology and idiocy,” he wrote in the Guardian last week. “Our priority this decade should be our own green new deal in which we generate, as soon as possible, all of our electricity from zero emission sources. “If we do, Australia will become a leader in the fight against global warming. And we can do it.” This process should not be rushed and leaders in the Coalition must resist calls to do so – especially by those who wish to re-write history as environmental saviours. There are quite incredible solutions to climate change being discussed in academic circles and according to all the science this writer has read – the climate catastrophe is still a long way away. And there are far bigger fish to fry over in China before we should be despairing about our tiny geo-centric emissions tally. Let’s pause and reflect before we poison the next generation with the very technology we hope will save it


    Does anyone know this suncommon business? The video they are using to advertise their climate action film festival uses footage of one of the people who broke into some pipelines in the United States. Betta Broad and New Yorkers for clean power will supposedly receive funds from this one specific showing listed below:


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