The evils of natural gas

By Nathan Barton

You have a nice warm house.  That is a luxury that very few people had for millennia, at least if they didn’t live in the tropics or have servants. Used to be that people EXPECTED the interior of their houses to be at or below freezing on a winter morning. Older children often had the horrible chore of getting the fire started, putting on the wood or the coal or – nasty: the buffalo chips – in the stove or the fireplace to warm the place up.  Then they invented the automatic-feeding (supposedly) coal furnace, which could still be a VERY unpleasant thing to keep running (few people today in the Fifty States have ever had to deal with one of those awful things).

But then, like with air conditioning (at the other end of the human temperature scale), along came natural gas and its sister propane, and cousin fuel oil. Life changed, for the better, in a LOT of ways.

Today, most American homes are heated (and often have their hot water produced by) natural gas or propane.  Millions of lives have been extended by this: the very young and very old do not do well sleeping in rooms that are below 32F, or even near that temperature.

Mama’s Note: Sleeping? Hoo boy… I could sleep in the cold without too much problem if I didn’t have to get up ever. Getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (and our bathroom is indoors!) when it is cold is downright unhealthy. And getting dressed in the morning would be even worse. I have wondered how in the world people survived in serious below zero temperatures, living in tents. Boggles the mind.

But never fear, government is going to try and take that benefit of modern technology away from you, or make it so costly that you have to go back to some compromise that does NOT involve having a house at between 60F and 68F for the entire night.

More regs, most costs, more theft by government is coming, as the White House demands a massive reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.  Methane is claimed to be 25 times more “deadly” to the earth than carbon dioxide, even though BOTH are made and emitted by natural processes.  It is the major component of natural gas, third only to gasoline and diesel as an essential fuel for life in the United States, replacing coal more and more.

While natural gas production (often associated with oil production) has increased by 50% since 2005 and methane emissions have DECLINED by 15%, that is not enough for our dictatorial earth-worshipping, environist would-be masters. No, emissions of methane by the oil and gas sector must be reduced by 45% from 2012 levels by 2025.  Thus driving up costs of production of oil and gas, leading to higher energy bills for transportation, home heating, and even things like camping and electricity and water and waste water.  Assuming that methane IS the deadly menace they claim (it is not), draconian regulations damage or destroy the natural market mechanisms that would reduce the emissions in the next ten years, just as they have in the past ten years.

You see, NObody wants to let methane escape into the air, not when you can capture it and sell it.  Yes, the price of natural gas has dropped, but it is still a valuable commodity that can be sold at a profit.  It doesn’t even have to leave the well pad to be a valuable substance: it replaces refined fuel (oil or gasoline) to run the very equipment necessary to extract it.

The new government action also illustrates that it was previous government action that created a massive amount of the methane “pollution” (assuming it IS, any more than carbon dioxide is) by prohibiting the flaring (the burning off) of methane from wells when it could NOT be captured and sold: by burning methane, you produce emissions consisting of water – in the form of steam – and carbon dioxide.  But since CO2 is only 1/25 as evil as methane, every molecule of CH4 (methane) that is burned with O2 produces only one molecule of CO2 and TWO molecules of water (H2O).  So rather than the flares POLLUTING (by their own environist definitions), the flares CONTROLLED and REDUCED pollution by a factor of 25 percent!  (At least until they get the bright idea that water is a pollutant.)

If you want to live in a modern world, and if you don’t want your infant or your granny dying of exposure in your own home on a cold winter’s night, then maybe you need to get rid of the government’s power to do something stupid like this.  Just maybe.

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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