The world will benefit from reduced carbon emissions as developing and industrial countries reduce their dependence on coal and oil by gaining access to ample North American natural-gas supplies.

Natural gas has been a boon for our pocket books, the environment and our way of life. Unfortunately, it gets a bad rap from Vlad Gutman-Britten (No Washington state subsidies for fossil-fuel plants, July 16, 2017). Let’s set the record straight.

Innovative practices and technology enhancements have unlocked vast reserves of North American natural gas and oil that were previously inaccessible. Scarce and costly just ten years ago, natural gas is now abundant and inexpensive.

Natural gas is growing in importance as a fuel for generating electricity. Like wind and solar, natural gas generation can be permitted and built in just a couple of years. Renewable wind and solar energy can’t live without natural gas because it’s a reliable, on-demand resource that’s available when it isn’t windy and the sun isn’t shining.

Natural gas is overtaking coal as the primary fuel for generating electricity. Consequently, U.S. carbon emissions are expected to hit a twenty-five year low, even though the economy has grown substantially. In fact, the U.S. leads the world in absolute reductions in carbon emissions, due in large part to the increased availability and affordability of natural gas.

Plentiful, inexpensive natural gas has saved consumers here hundreds of millions of dollars. Specifically, Washington State homeowners and businesses paid almost $600 million less for natural gas in 2016 than they paid in 2008.

North America is the world’s largest producer of natural gas. The whole world will benefit from reduced carbon emissions as developing and industrial countries reduce their dependence on coal and oil by gaining access to ample North American. natural gas supplies.

If it’s a synthetic material like plastics or nylon, natural gas was an essential ingredient. It is used to manufacture thousands of products that we rely on every day. Thanks to natural gas, the Seahawks have cleats, our kids have crayons, farmers have fertilizer and we have kayaks, hiking shoes and other equipment to enjoy our spectacular natural environment.

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in Washington State, producing over 40% of the total. Diesel pollution is a particular problem we can and need to address right now. All of us are affected but children, the elderly and infirm are especially vulnerable.

Natural gas-powered vehicles (NGVs) are much cleaner than diesel vehicles and capable of doing the same work. They are a ready-made solution to reduce harmful emissions from the heavy-duty vehicles we need for commerce, commuting and getting our kids to school.

There’s another plus with NGVs: they can run on renewable natural gas (RNG). Every landfill and sewage treatment plants produce RNG but few communities make use of it. Hauling big loads using RNG to power ultra-low emitting engines could reduce GHG emissions by more than 100 percent, with similar reductions in other toxic air pollutants.

Let’s end with what we know. Natural gas warms us when it’s chilly out. It reheats water more quickly after a long hot shower. From an elegant restaurant meal to stir-fry at home, nothing matches the infinite control and precision of cooking with natural gas. If you have natural gas service, you want to keep it. If you don’t, you wish you did.

Let’s review the facts: natural gas is a clean and versatile resource produced right here at home. It’s abundant and affordable with global potential. RNG and NGVs present our region with terrific opportunities. Natural gas makes possible the renewable power we care so deeply about. It is warm, reliable, efficient and safe. Natural gas is our energy.

This Op-Ed was originally published in the Seattle Times August 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm Updated August 3, 2017 at 3:08 pm. To view the published copy click here.