Alan Journet, Co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, April 11, 2021

For years, natural gas industry corporations and organization have been promoting the claim that Fossil (Natural) Gas is ‘the clean fossil fuel.’  This scam has been so effectively waged that this fossil fuel is still allowed by building codes in most places for new construction.  Indeed, as a result of this scam the promotion of this scam, many legislators still seem to think fossil gas is acceptable in plans designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  However, what we now know is that abundant research on the emissions of methane, the major component of this gas (approximately 90%) reveals that this potent greenhouse gas leaks sufficiently to negate the combustion benefits. See Fossil (Natural) Gas; A Bridge to Nowhere for more discussion.

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Now that the lid has generally been blown off the Fossil Gas scam, the same corporations and organizations are back with another scam.  This involves the equally cunningly named boondoggle ‘Renewable Natural Gas (RNG.)’   Just as the name ‘Natural Gas’ seems so benign and even healthful,  so does this new cousin: surely, if it’s ‘Renewable’ it must be good for us?  At first sight, the story behind this product seems plausible, but we should remember the stories are being plied by the same folks who brought us the Fossil Gas scam.  While the essential principle behind RNG seems benign, the main problems with this product are that its production is dependent largely on landfills and Confined Animal Feedlot Operations or mega-dairies.  Thus, promoting RNG implicitly involves encouraging consumption to provide landfills with biological waste, and beef and dairy consumption to justify maintaining or increasing CAFOs and mega-dairies.   Furthermore, even within the plans of proponents, there is no expectation that the evil fossil gas will actually be completely replaced by this RNG.  For a more complete discussion of the problems visit ‘What’s up with RNG.

When it comes to mapping a route forward that involves the reduction of both greenhouse gas emissions and their concentration in the atmosphere, in reality there is no place for fossil gas.

 

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