So to sum up: The way to save our planet is clear. Step 1 is to embrace natural gas as a "bridge" fuel, limiting the risks from fracking and helping China and other developing countries to switch from coal to gas. Step 2 is to fund research to ensure that the jaw-dropping three-decade plunge in solar power costs continues for two decades more. Natural gas is the temporary ally. Cheap solar is the cavalry that will ride in to finally save the day.
Preventing catastrophic global warming might still be a long shot. But if we do the right things now, we just might make it.You can read the whole thing here. The source for the figures about decreasing solar costs is this Scientific American piece by Ramez Naam.
Update: Here is a 2012 analysis by ThinkProgress claiming to show that fracking has been a much smaller cause of emissions reductions than I claim in my Atlantic piece, accounting for only 11% of the decline in U.S. emissions over the last 5 years. But here is a paper by three Harvard engineering professors claiming that over half of the emissions drop is due to gas fracking. I'm not sure who is right, but it is important to note that everything does depend on the facts; if fracking is small potatoes when it comes to emissions reductions, as ThinkProgress claims, then we should soon see emissions reductions plateau, unless there is another recession.