Picking one type of energy over another can hurt the environment

Categorized in: Infrastructure, National

With anti-pipeline protests much in the news lately, Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, recently published a guest op-ed that points out how self-proclaimed environmentalists who oppose oil and gas pipelines as part of their “keep it in the ground” strategy may very well be doing more ecological harm than good.

“The Anti-Pipeline Anti-Environmentalists” explains how plans to completely switch to so-called “clean energy” instead of oil and natural gas could wreak land use havoc:

Climate activists are now hoping to block oil and gas pipeline projects across the country due to their claim that we must keep all hydrocarbons in the ground to avert catastrophic climate change. Those same activists repeatedly claim we don’t need fossil fuels because we can rely solely on wind and solar energy.

But while they obsess over our carbon footprint, climate activists don’t give a fig about the land-use footprint of renewables. Indeed, the dirty truth about “clean” energy is that it requires shocking amounts of land. In a recent report for the Manhattan Institute, I show that using wind and solar energy to reduce domestic carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050 (80 by 50) will require covering about 287,700 square miles of territory — an area about the size of Texas and West Virginia combined.

Energy Citizens have been making similar points for years. Selectively choosing one energy resource over another never works. Our lifestyles depend on a commonsense mix of all forms of energy, the “all of the above” energy strategy that should be the goal of U.S. energy policies.

It’s up to us to keep reminding decision-makers in state and federal government to support energy policies – such as the reasonable use of pipelines – that will supply us with the energy we need.

xx