Fossil Fuels vs. Renewables

 | Jan 22, 2013 | 2:55 PM EST  | Comments
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I've read through President Obama's inauguration speech multiple times, and while the New York Times called it a ringing endorsement of the new natural gas finds in this country, I just don't see it that way.

The president sure did talk about the need to clean up the skies. In fact, I thought the main takeaways from the speech were the protection of gay rights and the necessity of fighting climate change.

Sure, coal's the primary target of global warming activists. It always troubles me that we lose jobs to China because it is able to manufacture goods so much cheaper than we can, in part, because 40% of their production -- of actual goods production -- is based on coal. We can't compete with that because we are so worried about cleaner skies.

The implication is that a new clampdown on coal is coming from the EPA, which will necessitate a move to more natural gas and less coal because natural gas is cleaner than coal. So, all the nat gas stocks, aided by cold weather, are flying.

But read the speech through. You can't conceivably conclude that this address in any way, shape or form is pro natural gas. It is all about renewables -- and it has always been about renewables. There is no language about a bridge fuel, even amid good academic evidence of less noxious emissions in this country.

This is just the kind of wishful thinking I expect people to ascribe to the president. While his actions could conceivably drive utilities to convert coal plants to natural gas, most of the conversions that can take place already have -- unless the EPA orders a shutdown of all coal plants.

The real issue here is fossil fuels vs. renewables. The president, by emphasizing climate change, is taking aim not at coal but at all fossil fuels. Do not buy the natural gas stocks just because you think this inaugural was a clarion call to switch.

It wasn't.

It's the same old, same old: windmills, solar, geo-whatever. Even as we accept goods from countries that take our jobs and pollute our skies, we do our best to jack up the price of energy to discourage its use while we try to come up with anything renewable to replace it, even though the notion of doing so is absurd.

So dream on.

But if you are buying nat gas stocks because of what the president said, you should sell them now. You are up -- you can go without taking losses. Do so.

These stocks will not rally because of the president. They will rally in spite of the president.

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