Energy efficiency is far and away the most cost-effective and job creating way to free up energy resources that would otherwise be wasted. There is a mad dash going on to build natural gas pipelines in order for utilities and pipeline companies to cash in on up to a 14% rate of return allowed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for pipeline projects. This rush to build is apparently responsible for more incidents on recently built pipelines on average than those built before 1940!
About 40% of our energy is wasted simply in the use of fossil fuels, made worse by the relatively low efficiency (typically about 35%) of electric generating plants that depend on coal, oil or natural gas. Relying solely on renewable energy, we’d be far more efficient than using natural gas as a “bridge fuel.” Gas extraction and pipelines releases large quantities of methane which contributes more powerfully than carbon dioxide to climate change, especially in the near term. This means the time to switch directly to efficient lighting, heating and other uses and to renewable energy is now! Building pipelines only interferes with investments in cost-effective, job creating renewables and infrastructure.