I enjoyed Mary Tarnoff’s thoughts in her May 8 guest column “To put ‘America First,’ lead on climate” on how the renewable energy industry can spur economic activity, but I respectfully disagree with her assertion that the fossil fuel industry is “obsolete.” Energy is the lifeblood of our economy, and our access to affordable energy has helped make the U.S. the most dynamic economy on earth.
The reality is that we rely heavily on traditional energy sources and will for some time. We should pursue advances in clean energy technologies, but we cannot shift the cost of more expensive energy to the most vulnerable in our society. Some renewable sources are becoming more economical, but it will not happen overnight.
In fact, traditional energy sources are complimenting each other well in Iowa. When the wind is not blowing, we rely on natural gas to ramp up and down efficiently to provide reliable energy. The increase in cleaner burning natural gas usage has lowered emissions considerably in recent years. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) last week, energy-related CO2 emissions have declined 14 percent since 2005. This was as oil and natural gas consumption has increased.
We are blessed with rich oil, natural gas, and renewable energy options in America. Pursuing an all of the above energy strategy is what is in the best interest for the U.S. consumer and economy. Contrary to popular belief, protecting our environment and having an affordable diverse energy mix are not mutually exclusive.