You have to admire the sense of humor on display by the editorial board at The Wall Street Journal some days. Their article from Friday carried the simple but amusing title, “John Kerry Says the Darndest Things.” They’re referring to a recent interview that Biden’s “climate envoy” did with Bloomberg TV. In it, despite only recently saying that natural gas could be a “bridge fuel” until we have more wind and solar capability, Kerry declared that he was only giving the gas industry “no more than ten years” to find a way to capture and eliminate carbon emissions or we’re going to “deploy alternative sources of energy.” Since this would essentially amount to a death sentence for natural gas, Mr. Kerry needs to explain just exactly how he plans to make this happen, particularly when he doesn’t have any sort of executive authority to declare such mandates. (WSJ, subscription required)
President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry a few months ago said he could see natural gas being a “bridge fuel.” Apparently he meant a bridge to nowhere. On Thursday he sentenced the industry to death in 10 years, no matter if renewable energy sources won’t be able to replace natural gas by then.
“We have to put the industry on notice: You’ve got six years, eight years, no more than 10 years or so, within which you’ve got to come up with a means by which you’re going to capture [emissions], and if you’re not capturing, then we have to deploy alternative sources of energy,” he told Bloomberg TV. Can someone come up with a way to capture and bury Mr. Kerry’s emissions?
He added: “No one should make it easy for the gas interests to be building out 30- or 40-year infrastructure, which we’re then stuck with and you know the fight will be ‘well we can’t close these because of the employment, because of the investors, et cetera.’”
The WSJ editors do a sound job of pointing out some of the nonsensical aspects of Kerry’s proposal. For one, carbon capture and sequestration technology is still in its infancy. The methods that are currently under development are far from scalable to anywhere near the levels required to handle the total volume of natural gas used in America each year. And even if you can get it up and running in some locations, it drives up the cost of the finished product significantly. Is that really the message Joe Biden wants Kerry to be spreading around in the middle of the Bidenflation crisis and soaring energy bills?
Then there’s the second part of Kerry’s threat to consider. If the industry doesn’t fully deploy the not yet existent technology, he will have to “deploy alternative sources of energy.” Oh, really? And what are these sources of energy that could make up for the source that heats nearly half of the buildings in the country and accounts for almost 40% of the electricity we currently generate? And if you really do have those alternate sources hidden in your back pocket… for God’s sake, man, why haven’t you rolled them out already? Oh, that’s right. I forgot. We’re already producing wind and solar farms as fast as can physically be managed using generous taxpayer-funded subsidies to do so, and it still only accounts for 11% of the electricity we use.
Then there’s the reality of how such a policy would impact the existing energy infrastructure. If the government declares a ten-year death penalty for natural gas, who in the world is going to invest in building any additional pipelines or the other structural requirements to continue producing and delivering it? The answer is that nobody will because they would never earn their money back on those investments. And none of this even begins to address a challenge that we’ve discussed here before. With no natural gas available by 2032, how do you plan to convert half of the buildings in the country over to electric heating in ten years and who will pay for those conversions? And where will you generate all of the electricity to heat those buildings if you’ve knocked 40% of the current juice off of our grid?
This is a clueless plan designed to elicit cheers from the far left and attempt to lift their sagging spirits in a midterm year that’s shaping up to be a disaster for Kerry’s party. John Kerry is talking about rainbows and unicorns rather than addressing the real energy needs of the country both today and in the future. He is not to be taken seriously on this subject and Biden should find a new line of work for him where he might not embarrass the administration as much.