NCPA VP Jacki Pick: "Fracking is Our Clean Power Plan"
As environmental groups gather to strategize maximum mileage from the president’s “Clean Power Plan,” they would do well to remember what they might regard as the greatest environmental triumph of this century: The U.S. already leads the world in carbon emissions reduction, with emissions down 26% since the shale boom hits its stride in 2007. Why? Because of the use of natural gas, a fossil fuel, now produced in historic volumes made possible through fracking, or hydraulic fracturing.
Fracked natural gas has been key to reducing U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest levels since 1988, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced.
Over the same 27 year time-frame, figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show the U.S. economy nearly doubled, growing about 50% when gross domestic product is adjusted for inflation.
With the shale boom, lower emissions and economic growth need not be at odds
Our economic growth was largely the result of cheap fossil fuels. They feed our electric grid, enable the digital revolution, run our transportation sector, manufacture American durable goods and electronics, and produce petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Fracking was key to our growth in fossil fuels production; the Independent Petroleum Association of America notes that more than 1.2 million wells have been fracked in the U.S. Because of historic production through fracking, the U.S. was the top natural gas and petroleum producer on earth in 2014, and our energy costs have fallen. U.S. industrial electricity costs are now 30-50% lower than those of our foreign competitors, resulting in a manufacturing renaissance and the “reshoring” of perhaps millions of American jobs, according to a new report by the Boston Consulting Group. By 2018, enhanced fossil fuel production through fracking will enable the U.S. to manufacture goods cheaper than in China.