US Department of Energy rebrands fossil fuels as ‘freedom molecules’

In what appears to be a desperate effort to promote the waning fossil fuels industry as the world begins turning to renewable clean energy sources, the U.S. Department of Energy is rebranding fossil fuels as “freedom molecules.” Seriously.

President Donald Trump and his administration has made it clear that they are going to promote dirty energy resources such as coal, oil and gas that are extracted through often destructive methods such as fracking over the clean energy sources of the future like solar and wind.

The amount of carbon pumped in the air by the fossil fuels industry has contributed greatly to climate change. Obviously, the environmental damage done by the industry has garnered bad press and a negative public image. So, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced earlier this year that the United States intends to “liberate” Europe by exporting natural gas to the continent and tried to rebrand natural gas as a patriotic energy source.

“Seventy-five years after liberating Europe from Nazi Germany occupation, the United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent,” Perry said. “And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”

And now an absurd press release by the Department of Energy takes it even further by referring to the hydrocarbons as “molecules of U.S. freedom.”

“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy,” U.S. Undersecretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes said.

“With the US in another year of record-setting natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world,” said Assistant Secretary Steven Winberg added.

Except the reality is that natural gas is not clean.

According to Live Science:

Natural gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide as coal, but it can wreak havoc if it escapes into the atmosphere unburned. That’s because natural gas is comprised mostly of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Over the course of a century, methane will trap 34 times as much heat as an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.

Problematically, natural gas is prone to leaking from pipelines, wellheads, and the nooks and crannies of processing and storage facilities.

Not only do gas pipelines blow up from time to time, but fracking also causes environmental damage and health problems.

“From Texas to Pennsylvania, chemicals used in fracking are contaminating water supplies,” Live Science continued. “Hydraulic fracturing has been linked to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and low birth weight.”

And natural gas is just another way for the fossil fuels industry to profit and stave off extinction.

Natural gas is merely another way to feed the world’s addiction to climate-altering hydrocarbons. Investing in gas will only slow the development of affordable clean energy. Given the risks associated with natural gas, both to the climate and to human health, this fuel deserves just as much scrutiny as do oil and coal.

Again, this is an effort by the United States government to save an industry that is poisoning the planet for profit, an industry that is becoming more irrelevant as clean renewable energy sources become less expensive and more popular.

Even Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who has spent much of his career fighting for the environment, thinks the new branding effort is a “joke.”

Not only is this rebranding effort a joke, so is the Department of Energy, which is nothing more than an advocate for 19th century energy resources in a 21st century world.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.
 

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