So, you embrace the “Progressive” energy agenda. You’re all in for the Green New Deal despite its fanciful call for quitting fossil fuels by 2030. You support renewable energy mandates. You protest fracking and new energy pipeline infrastructure. Carbon tax? You’ve even called your Congressman about that one.
These policies all make fossil fuels more expensive to the consumer. That’s the goal of the Climate Change agenda, right?
You don’t need a degree in economics to know that when a commodity price goes up, consumption goes down. The consumers bid out of the market by higher energy costs are the folks on the economic margin, the ones struggling to get by.
Conversely, lower prices mean higher consumption. Thanks to the shale boom, the U.S. has enjoyed a “Blue Light Special” on the little blue flame for over a decade.
A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research quantifies the benefit of cheaper natural gas in human terms: “Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality” (.pdf link; h/t Mark J. Perry at AEI.org).
The study estimates that cheap, abundant natural gas saves 11,000 lives annually in the U.S.
Seventeen percent of the population spends over 10% of their income on home energy. The largest component of that expenditure is winter time space heating. We’re talking about the elderly, the infirm, those below the poverty line, anyone on a fixed or limited income who are forced to use less natural gas should prices rise.
The positive health impact of those cheaper prices vs. the cost of electricity or home heating oil is quantifiable, especially in terms of reduced mortality due to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. When home heating takes a smaller bite of the monthly budget, there is also more money available for food and health care.
Those 11,000 lives belong to real human beings, not cartoon penguins or polar bears.
This is a tangible benefit today, not a speculative estimate “by the year 2100”.
Natural gas is cheap, abundant, and domestic. It displaces more polluting fuels from the energy mix. With natural gas production and consumption at all-time highs, overall carbon dioxide emissions are decreasing.
Tell me again why you’re an anti-fracker?