Eastern Ohio is enjoying an economic boom from the discovery of apparently enormous natural gas deposits in the Utica Shale formation, far underground. The discovery not only has led to economic growth and lower unemployment rates — as well as the promise of less dependence on foreign sources of energy — but it also is likely to have a significant positive environmental impact.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions for the first four months of this year fell abruptly to the lowest level in 20 years. CO2, of course, is one of the dreaded “greenhouse gases” that are blamed for “global warming.” The drop in CO2 emissions is attributed to power plants switching from coal to cheap, and plentiful, natural gas. The discovery of large natural gas deposits elsewhere in the U.S. has caused the price of natural gas to fall dramatically in recent years. With the Utica Shale drilling coming on line, the surge in the supply of natural gas means that the price should stay low — even if the demand for natural gas increases.
As the linked story indicates, businesses pay attention to price, and when it comes to behavior modification good intentions about reducing greenhouse gases can’t hold a candle to lower prices.