large and growing fraction of U.S. residents understands that human-caused climate change is a significant problem in need of urgent solutions. But as public alarm increases, misinformation about fossil fuels and renewable energy has also seen an uptick.
For example, some politicians and petroleum producers have said that the Biden administration is addressing climate change by slowing down domestic energy production, characterizing the president’s policies as an attack on American energy. But the data doesn’t bear that out.
Oil and gas extraction has been on the rise since the COVID-induced slowdowns of late 2020 and early 2021. Since then, gas production has set multiple all-time records, and the Energy Information Administration anticipates new oil production records will be set in 2023. The data behind those assessments stands in stark contrast to accusations that the Biden administration is curtailing domestic oil and gas extraction...
Bottom line: When you compare the amount of electricity generated, rather than the amount of raw fuel, it becomes clear that renewables are already producing about as much electricity as coal...
Fossil gas is around 44% efficient, so “only” 56% of the energy in gas is lost in conversion to electricity. That’s better than coal, but still very inefficient. As renewables offset fossil-fueled electricity, they are replacing large amounts of inefficient energy production with a more efficient process that consumes less energy overall. This is partly why renewables tend to be cheaper than extraction-based sources of electricity.
It takes a careful eye to spot these nuances, but in the end, a data-driven approach not
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