Saving the planet with natural gas

Last week I was the guest on the student run radio station at the University of Colorado. They wanted to know about energy in general and oil and natural gas in particular. They are very concerned with the environment because they live in it. The show was focused on rock climbing. They know that they need energy. What got their attention was when I talked about all of the products they use every day that come from natural gas like cell phones, flat screen TVs and their cars which have a lot of plastic and composite materials in them. The nylon ropes, shoes and even clothing they use for rock climbing are petrochemical based.

We have a choice. We can allow those products to be made overseas in places like China under Chinese environmental law or we can have them made here under United States environmental laws, which are among the toughest in the world. The young man who was the host got it!

His comment was, “Wow. I have never thought about it that way before.” He commented to his listeners, “We don’t like manufacturing and processing facilities but if we want our stuff we need to have them. This gentleman has a good point that it would be better for the environment and American jobs to have them here rather than in places like China.” The host called the next day to thank me for being on the show. He commented, “We never looked at things that way before.” He asked if I could come back on the show in a few weeks.

Polluting our planet’s air and water is never good. I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s and 1960s. The air was nasty, and we swam in orange polluted creeks. Something had to change, and it did. I believe in action and measurable results rather than just talk. An environmentalist is someone who cares about the environment and actually does something to make a positive difference. Today we have our cleanest air and water in over 100 years. I’m proud to have been part of that change. I can only see our environment getting better. New industry coming here will be the cleanest in the world, operating with state-of-the-art equipment and processes.

A report by BP Statistical, in a recent issue of Forbes, shows global CO2 emissions continue to increase and are at an all- time high. Since the Kyoto Treaty was signed in 2005 global CO2 is up 19 percent. In that same period of time the USA’s CO2 emissions are down over 12 percent, primarily due to increased use of natural gas. Emissions in Asia have sky rocketed. In spite of Europe’s movement to renewables their emissions also increased in 2017. The USA is one of the few nations with a significant decrease in emissions, even last year we were down 0.5 percent.

Pipeline projects taking our abundant natural gas where it is needed will help reduce CO2 emissions and create cleaner air in the USA and in places like Asia. Asia Pacific is responsible for 50 percent of global CO2 emissions. True environmentalists and anyone that cares about people should be thrilled to send our natural gas to Asia, where it can make a huge difference in global CO2 and air pollution. My pastor is from India. He told me that on his last visit to New Delhi the air was cleaner. I asked him what changed. He thought for a moment and said, “They are using more natural gas.”

Europe has apparently figured this out since they are using more natural gas. Russia ran a pipeline from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Germany in 2011 after most countries in Europe banned hydraulic fracturing. Russia is running a new 48-inch pipeline to Europe next to the existing pipeline.

If air pollution and climate change are serious issues, world governments, academics and environmental groups haven’t solved the problem. They have decided that renewables are the solution. The problem has only gotten worse except for the USA, where the natural gas industry has become part of the solution. In less than 10 years the USA has gone from energy crisis to the leading natural gas producer in the world. True environmentalists should be happy to see this happen. I’m surprised that other nations aren’t looking to the USA as an example of how to solve these global environmental problems. If I want to be wealthy I’m going to talk to a millionaire, not my brother-in-law who lives paycheck to paycheck.

At Shale Crescent USA, we’re not tied to a particular fuel. Our goal is to bring high wage jobs back to the Ohio Valley and raise the standard of living of the people who live here. There is a place for all fuel sources. The owner of a solar company told me at a conference they pay their installers $25,000 a year. That is not a high wage job. The manufacture of most windmills and solar panels will be in China since that is where over 90 percent of the rare earth metals needed in their manufacture come from. The only fuel we see that will bring us the jobs and economic development we need to raise the standard of living of people here is our economic and abundant natural gas.

As a country, we solved our energy problems in less than 10 years. We can achieve anything if we work together toward a common goal. I learned as a leader that once a goal was set my people could find a better way to achieve it than I could. That is the power of a team.

We can have clean air, clean water and high wage jobs. We need clean air, clean water and high wage jobs for our valley. We don’t need government or environmental groups to tell us how to do it. That is what we do best and faster than they can. We are Americans. Just turn us loose and watch what happens. Thoughts to ponder.

Kozera is the marketing director of Shale Crescent USA and has extensive experience in the energy industry.