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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Gambling with Natural Gas

Gas flare at Shell refinery. Photo by Dirk Ingo Franke. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Gas flare at Shell refinery. Photo by Dirk Ingo Franke. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Will Vermont Play Its Cards Right?

Union of Concerned Scientists – reprinted by permission

The decisions Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin makes in the near term could impact Vermonts energy future for decades to come—and Vermonters’ pocketbooks as well. While natural gas has a potential role to play in the state’s energy transition, too much natural gas—a fossil fuel—can be a problem. New UCS analysis shows that consumers in two-thirds of U.S. states may be at financial risk because of an over-reliance on natural gas. While Vermont doesnt have any natural gas plants within its borders, it is part of a regional electricity grid that is very dependent on natural gas. Vermonters: Write Governor Shumlin today and urge him to protect you and your fellow consumers by prioritizing renewable energy over natural gas in working to reduce global warming emissions in the region.

You can personalize, sign, and send a UCS letter to Governor Shumlin at bit.ly/letter-to-Shumlin-on-NG. General contact information for Governor Shumlin can be found at governor.vermont.gov/contact-us.

Make sure your state doesn’t lock in a fossil fuel future

Union of Concerned Scientists – reprinted by permission

Its hard to escape the ads, you know the one: all blue skies with happy people talking about how clean natural gas is. And sure, it might be cleaner than coal, but thats not saying much. Natural gas is still a fossil fuel—producing and burning it creates global warming emissions. The prevalence of these ads is a sign of how critical this moment is for our energy choices. If we become too reliant on natural gas, we put ourselves at risk for increasing climate change and seeing natural gas price spikes. We have a great opportunity to make the switch to clean energy now—and avoid excessive investments in another fossil fuel that wont pay off in the future.

Fracked Gas – Not In Anyone’s Back Yard

Green Energy Times

Vermont and New York have both banned fracking. For Vermont, the first state to ban fracking, the ban was largely symbolic because there are no known gas deposits that might tempt exploitation. For New York, however, the ban on fracking was more substantive, because it came as a law for a state with large reserves.

Notably, neither state banned importation of gas from fracked wells. There are some among us who regard that as hypocritical, especially as the percentage of fracked gas in the gas supply increases and there are moves to extend pipelines.

A study from Johns Hopkins University, published in the journal Epidemiology is sobering. (You can find the abstract at bit.ly/PA-fracking-study.) It shows that the increase in the number of fracking wells in Pennsylvania has been associated with significant increases with high-risk pregnancies and premature births.

We should consider the consequences of using fossil fuels, not only relative to climate change, but also to health impacts on people and the environment in the places where they are extracted, processed and transported.

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