Monday, July 28, 2014

Upside, Downside: The Demise Of Coal Fuels The Rise Of Shale Gas

China plans to reduce coal use, though consumption still could rise for a number of years. "Under pressure to reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions, the Chinese government is considering a mandatory cap on coal use, the main source of carbon pollution from fossil fuels. But it would be an adjustable ceiling that would allow coal consumption to grow for years, and policy makers are at odds on how long the nation’s emissions will rise. Senior officials are debating these issues as they formulate a new five-year development plan....China emits more carbon dioxide than any other country, so what President Xi Jinping and his colleagues decide will have far-reaching consequences for efforts to contain climate change." Chris Buckley in The New York Times.

Obama's CO2 plan could be further boon to shale boom. "The study...concluded that the regulation would cut demand for electricity from coal — the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution — but create robust new demand for natural gas, which has just half the carbon footprint of coal. It found that the demand for natural gas would, in turn, drive job creation, corporate revenue and government royalties in states that produce it, which, in addition to Oklahoma and Texas, include Arkansas and Louisiana. The report concluded that the rule would hurt states where coal production is a central part of the economy." Coral Davenport in The New York Times.

Oil, gas boom taps rush of ordinances and bans across the U.S. "Development of oil and gas shale formations has sparked drilling from Pennsylvania to California, and that is leading to a new wave of local oil and gas ordinances and bans. Towns and cities — from Robinson Township, Pa., population 13,354, to Dallas, population 1.2 million — are enacting rules to limit or control oil and gas development....But in many places, local governments and the oil and gas industry are reaching accord and finding ways to balance desires of residents against the demands of business." Mark Jaffe in The Denver Post.

Related: Could the electric grid become over-reliant on natural gas? James Osborne in the Dallas Morning News.

Charts: Visualizing the shale boom. Melissa C. Lott in Scientific American.

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