Top UN Official: Shale Gas Key to Cutting GHGs, Protecting Forests, Helping the Poor

Without question, safely produced abundant, clean-burning natural gas is helping to drive economic growth and spur job creation while also protecting our environment. This fact was reinforced by the co-head of a United Nations (UN) sustainable energy program this week during a global development meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Reuters reports:

Natural gas, including non-traditional shale gas, should play a major role in cutting greenhouse gases, protecting forests and improving the health and living standards of the world’s poor, the co-head of a U.N. sustainable energy program said on Monday.

Without it, the U.N.’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative will have difficulty meeting goals of ensuring universal energy access, doubling the world’s share of renewable energy and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030, Kandeh Yumkella, co-head of the initiative, told Reuters.

“You can’t save the forest if you don’t have gas,” Yumkella, a native of Sierra Leone, said in an interview on the sidelines of a global development meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s one of the solutions we need to reduce deforestation and reduce the two million people who die every year because of indoor air pollution because they use firewood.”

Yumkella, who is also the head of the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, understands his support for natural gas is controversial, but finding the estimated $43 billion a year needed to provide electricity by 2030 to 1.3 billion people, half the number without it today, will be near impossible.

Mr. Yumkella also highlights the critical role the United States has played — and continues to play — in responsibly development clean-burning natural gas:

At the same time he praises the development of shale gas in the United States, an abundant resource that has helped the world’s biggest polluter slash carbon emissions – replacing coal with cleaner gas – and making energy cheaper.

“We welcome new sources of energy, in fact you have to give the Americans credit,” Yumkella said. “Fifteen years ago they decided to invest in new technology.”

These are indeed powerful words from an official who’s committed in his role as director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to “make every effort to encourage the growth of industry in the fight against poverty.”

Closer to home, Marcellus Shale Coalition analyst Brian Drake takes to the pages of today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to ensure that facts continue to unpin the ongoing discussion about safe, responsible American natural gas development. This from Brian’s letter:

There isn’t a silver bullet for our nation’s energy challenges. That said, the responsible development of American natural gas is creating tens of thousands of private-sector jobs, driving down energy costs for consumers and businesses and dramatically weakening our nation’s dangerous dependency on unstable regions of the world to meet our energy needs.

Have questions about tightly-regulated, job-creating American natural gas development, which is Building a Stronger, More Secure America? For those in southeastern Pennsylvania, please visit AskAboutShale.org. We’re excited to hear from you.

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