One of the great ironies of the transition to renewable energy is that it's going to require a great deal of fossil fuels to build all those wind turbines, solar panels, and smart grids — because we simply don't have enough renewables already in the mix to bootstrap them up to the level we need to continue even a semblance of our 21st century civilization.
So why not make that transition with the "cleanest" fossil fuel available, goes the argument — namely, natural gas. So far so good. But lately, in op-eds in places like The New York Times and Salon.com, this argument has been used as cover for the same old anti-cleantech, do-nothing attitude that Exxon Mobil and its army of deniers have been espousing for decades.
As Brian Merchant points out in Treehugger, "be forewarned — [there's] a storm of high-minded, seemingly well-reasoned arguments that natural gas is 'green' looming on the horizon. And if those opinionators, pundits and policymakers get their way, they could doom us to another few decades of fossil fuel reliance."
The point isn't that we should ditch natural gas — the alternative, mostly coal, is probably still far worse — it's that no limited, non-renewable, climate-killing fossil fuel makes sense except in as much as it serves the transition to an entirely renewable future.