Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The China-Pennsylvania Connection Pennsylvania Can Sell Both Shale Gas and Shale-Gas ? Expertise to the Chinese

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The China-Pennsylvania Connection Pennsylvania Can Sell Both Shale Gas and Shale-Gas ? Expertise to the Chinese

Article excerpt

In Harbin, China, a city of 11 million, pollution recently reached levels so appalling that visibility dropped to 30 feet. Kids were held home from school and highways were closed. China's breakneck economic growth has come at a large environmental price, worse but similar to that paid by American industrial cities like Pittsburgh not so long ago.

Pennsylvania can teach China two lessons about industrial pollution. The first is not to consider serious air pollution a necessary cost of "progress," especially given the costs to clean up the problem after the fact. The second is to get on with hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to produce clean natural gas to replace at least some of the highly polluting coal used in power generation.

Pennsylvania also can be a partner in improving China's environment by selling the country clean natural gas and fracking technology.

China relies on coal for 70 percent of its electrical power. The U.S. Energy Information Agency recently reported that China is now burning nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined.

However, the Chinese government, under increasing pressure from the public, is scrambling to address the pollution that is making some cities nearly unlivable. The concentration of fine particulate matter - a key measurement for air quality - was so bad in Harbin it reached a level 20 times greater than what the World Health Organization deems safe.

The Chinese need immediate substitutes for coal, and that's where the U.S. shale-gas revolution enters the picture. Surging U.S. natural gas production from shale formations like the Marcellus in Pennsylvania is not only driving U.S. job growth but also providing significant environmental benefits. The Chinese have taken notice.

A new report from the EIA shows that increased use of natural gas in place of coal helped the United States reduce carbon emissions 12 percent between 2005 and 2012. Natural gas produces half the carbon emissions and just a fraction of the fine particulates when used to produce electricity in place of coal. …

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