Gasoline is above $4 a gallon, a price that makes Americans think the End of Days is approaching. President Barack Obama wants the oil industry to give up a mere $2 billion per year in tax favors, and Big Oil CEOs just told Congress this is out of the question. (Watch CEOs of some of the world’s richest companies cry poor-mouth here).
Huge amounts of shale gas are being discovered in the United States, but does extracting the gas pollute groundwater? In a recent speech, Obama was upfront about all U.S. plans for “energy independence” being just political hot air. And for the zillionth consecutive year, Congress is supposed to enact a comprehensive national energy policy, but instead appears focused on horse-trading subsidies and bailouts.
Is there anything being missed in the endless energy debate?
Yes — methane emissions. Methane is a much worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane could be regulated without economic risk, reducing the artificial greenhouse effect and buying society a decade or two of extra time to research ways to control other greenhouse gases.
Instead nothing is being done about methane emissions. This is an orphan issue without a constituency — and the problem is about to get worse.
The primary artificial greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is mainly a byproduct of burning coal and petroleum, and of deforestation. It is carbon dioxide accumulation that most worries climate change researchers. Though carbon dioxide may not be as hard to address as many assume, with current technology, any strict regulation of carbon emissions would risk harm to the economy.