Can We Skip Straight to Renewable Energy Without Natural Gas?

A protest this weekend at the site of a proposed natural gas power generator on the Cape Cod Canal highlights the controversy surrounding the rise of natural gas. Some say it’s an improvement over other fossil fuels, and a necessary bridge to a more renewable energy system. Others say it’s still a fossil fuel, and we should be investing in solar instead. The director of research at MIT’s Energy Initiative , Francis O’Sullivan, says neither side is completely right – or wrong. In a 2011 report on the Future of Natural Gas , O’Sullivan and colleagues predicted that natural gas would play an increasing role in energy generation and could provide deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to coal. Then, in a 2015 report on the Future of Solar Energy , the same group called for a massive scale-up of solar power. O’Sullivan doesn’t see a conflict there. […]

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