By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – According to an analysis by USA Today, there will be 177 new natural gas power plants coming online in the the United States, with 152 already scheduled to have opening dates between 2019 and 2033. There are close to 2,000 now in service.
This news is shocking scientists and other humans on the planet, already beseeched by ever increasing climate disasters. Carbon dioxide emissions need to fall by as much as 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, in order to avoid climate catastrophe, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
It’s not just the United Nations’ opinion, Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Pennsylvania State University said the world needs to reduce its carbon emissions rapidly – by fifty percent within the next decade – or face the prospect of a global temperature rise of more than 2.7 degrees within decades.
That’s enough temperature change to destroy the coral reefs, melt large parts of the ice sheets, overwhelm coastal cities in sea level rise and cause what Mann describes as “nearly perpetual extreme weather events. […] By any definition, that would be catastrophic.”
However according to Michael Brune, president of the Sierra Club. “If we are to prevent runaway climate change, these new plants can’t be built.”
Joe Daniel, senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts also said, “If the current pipeline of gas plants were to get built, it would make decarbonizing the power sector by 2050 nearly impossible.”
The climate change deniers and oil and gas industry supporters are quick to point out that the United States is not solely responsible or enabled to stop climate change, and fear leaving money on the table for our adversaries.
While Trump Administration officials supporting fossil fuels, like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt say (in 2017), “True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with to feed the world.”
Yet for the public, there is analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute that shows by 2023, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the average cost of producing a megawatt hour of electricity will be $40.20 for a large-scale natural gas plants. Solar installations will be $2.60 cheaper and wind turbines will be $3.60 cheaper.