Stop the use of Fracked Gas (aka "Natural Gas") now!

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April 30, 2018

Ms. Lynn Good, CEO
Duke Energy
526 S. Church St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Dear Ms. Good:

Dr. Michael Mann, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, warned us in an April, 2017 Time Magazine article, that we have less than three years to begin a purposeful transition away from fossil fuels in order to avoid the catastrophic climate change that will occur if our planet’s temperature increases 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.

More recently, a NASA study revealed that the increased use of fracked natural gas, which consists of between 90-95% methane, is one of the major contributors to civilization-threatening climate change.

We, the Citizens of North Carolina, strongly urge that Duke Energy take seriously the expertise and consensus of 15,000 leading climate scientists and move quickly, and with great purpose, toward a renewable energy future and a more just source of electricity for your customers.

We are concerned about the construction underway of new fracked gas power plants across our state, which will lead to the release of both carbon dioxide and methane. We are keenly aware that building these plants will lock our state into fossil fuel as the main source of our electricity for 20 years or more, beyond what is viable for the future of our state, and indeed, the entire planet.

We also strongly oppose the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is planned by Duke Energy and Dominion Energy for transporting fracked gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina. We stand in solidarity with those who would be in the crosshairs of the devastation it will cause, from loss of land, to loss of natural habitat, to potential toxic chemical pollution of the water, the soil, and the air near where they live; and which will create very few long lasting jobs in those areas.

We have read your 2017 Climate Report to Shareholders, and are disturbed and alarmed that you have omitted information about the life cycle of natural gas and its emissions, which includes extraction, piping and storage prior to burning, leading the public believe that it is cleaner than coal and a viable transition energy source. As you know, all gas from the Marcellus Shale beds in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio is extracted by fracking, where methane is immediately released into the atmosphere. We are also sure that Duke is aware that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has calculated, in their 5th annual report, that methane is 86 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over 20 years after emission.

Scientists have estimated that the typical methane release occurring prior to combustion is 5-6% of all the gas that is drawn from that site. Further scientific research shows that any leakage of more than 3% of methane exceeds the damaging effects of burning coal, making fracked gas a dirtier energy source, not the cleaner, transitional one you claim.

Why would Duke Energy build new fracked gas power plants and pipelines, knowing that doing so will threaten the very existence of life on planet Earth by exponentially increasing global temperatures? It is critical that Duke Energy focus now on clean renewable energy, like solar, wind, geothermal and existing hydro. We are at a critical juncture in history right now, because if we continue with business as usual, the temperature is projected to increase by between 4 and 8 degrees C by 2100, far beyond what the fragile ecosystem of this planet can withstand.

The citizens of North Carolina want no part in the perpetuation of a situation in which the health and well being of our children, our beautiful environment, our wildlife and trees, our organic farms, our outdoor way of life, are threatened by increasing temperatures and a toxic atmosphere caused by continuing dependence on fossil fuels. We want a renewable energy future here, and we expect Duke, as our sole energy provider, to provide that.

We, the undersigned support and agree with the above,

Michael Mann, Distinguished professor, Penn State University

Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program

Harvard Ayers, Professor Emeritus, Appalachian State University

Citizens of North Carolina

 



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