The gas industry has played up the possibility of using natural gas as a "transition" fuel. However, the gas locked up in the shale will take decades to extract. Moreover, that gas will be expensive to extract and extracting the gas presents very serious public health and environmental problems. In the end, even taking into account unconventional sources like shale gas and coal bed methane, this country does NOT possess that much natural gas in comparison to what is available in Russia and the Middle East.
If we convert more and more of our energy usage to natural gas, it will not be long before we are forced to turn to Russia and the Middle East for our natural gas. Meanwhile, we will have trashed some of our most valuable resources (e.g. water) in trying to squeeze more gas from the shale.Rather than investing a HUGE amount of money in drilling the shale and then trying to clean up the environmental and public health mess that results, it would make a great deal more sense to invest that money in renewable energy sources. And if we get truly serious about energy efficiency and conservation, we will use up less fossil fuel in the meantime. That is the way to make the transition--by using less coal, oil, and natural gas. A transition based on conservation can begin immediately, will help the environment rather than harming it, and will save people money, because using less energy costs less money. Needless to say, the fossil fuel industry has its own reasons for NOT wanting people to conserve--they would like us all to keep buying fossil fuel, regardless of the environmental and health problems that will result.
We don't need a transitional fuel. We need to understand that fossil fuel use is not the way to go forward, that we have already wasted several decades and a lot of money pretending that fossil fuel use could go on and on, and that we need to stop repeating past errors and get serious about conservation and renewable energy.
My sentiments exactly! -Peacegirl