Since the industrial revolution, growing economies around the
world have turned to fossil fuels for a relatively cheap power
source. This dependence on non-renewable resources has only
increased in the past few decades, but so have the environmental
arguments against them. One of the biggest arguments against
burning fossil fuels is the harmful emissions that come as a side
effect. But while many lump all fossil fuels together as being
"dirty" energy sources, one stands out from the rest: natural gas.
Natural Gas: The Clean Solution
With recent developments in hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) and
horizontal drilling, natural gas has become one of the most
abundant resources in North America overnight. These advancements
in extraction are making NG a cheap and viable solution, and its
use over other resources has played a huge part in the lowering
Despite being a fossil fuel, NG is significantly cleaner than the
popular alternatives, only producing two-thirds of the emissions
that crude oil produces and almost half that of coal.
earlier this month that "on a per capita basis, carbon dioxide
emissions from power stations are now at their lowest since
President Eisenhower left office in 1961."
While NG has helped lower emissions, not everyone is pleased with
this development. Current
have been heavily debated by environmentalists around the world,
and in the United States the practice is currently exempt from the
Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and many others. As fracking
becomes more efficient and less harmful to the environment, the
proof is there that NG could be held to these national standards
and be a safer alternative to crude oil.
What This Means for Natural Gas Investors
While an increased demand will likely help give prices a bit of a
boost, the ever-increasing supply will likely keep prices from
getting too high. Investors wishing to make a long-term play on the
commodity would be better served investing in producers such as
), rather than the commodity itself.
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Editor's note: This article by Carolyn Pairitz was originally