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Natural Gas is Green Energy

Article by Matthew Denhart July 2, 2013 //   3 minute read

What are growth believers to make of the Administration’s recently announced plan on climate change? Bush Institute Fellow Bud Weinstein offers his take in a recent Op-Ed for Investor’s Business Daily.

Weinstein finds three basic problems with the plan:

  1. The proposed regulations of greenhouse gas emissions do not take into account any kind of cost-benefit analysis. Weinstein asserts that the costs of the regulations — in terms of lost economic growth — may well exceed the benefits of the new rules.
  2. Reducing carbon emissions requires a coordinated strategy with buy-in from all the world’s major economies. Even if the U.S. were successful in limiting its own carbon emissions, these reductions would be more than offset by emissions from countries like China, India, and Brazil.
  3. The Administration’s plan emphasizes continued public investment in renewable energy projects. Unfortunately, Weinstein writes, such projects in the past have cost taxpayers dearly without yielding large amounts of energy.

A more promising way to reduce carbon emissions while simultaneously helping the economy, as Weinstein notes, is for the U.S. to expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas exports. Natural gas is a clean energy source, and one that America has in abundance. Other countries are desperate to purchase U.S. natural gas, but are essentially blocked from doing so because the U.S. federal government has delayed approving permits that are required for export. Weinstein makes the case that by exporting natural gas, “Not only will we be creating jobs at home, we'll be helping to reduce [greenhouse gasses] abroad.”

On September 12 the Bush Institute will host a major conference looking in greater depth at all these issues. The conference will gather policymakers, leading academics, and industry leaders to examine the issue of energy regulation and its relationship to economic growth. The proceedings will be broadcast via live stream on www.bushcenter.org and we will be posting conference papers and energy-related commentary here at www.fourpercentgrowth.org. We hope you will tune in for these discussions as we explore how the energy industry is reshaping America’s economy and helping push the country in the direction of 4% growth. 

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