"For around 10 years, the conventional wisdom in the energy sector has been that natural gas is ascendant. Coal is dirty, and it’s getting expensive, but it’s too early to jump all the way to renewable energy. To get from the fossil fuel present to the renewable future, we will need ... a bridge. Natural gas is meant to be that bridge, a way to reduce our emissions relative to coal while we work on scaling up renewables. (The shift from coal to gas is a big part of why US emissions have declined over the past few years.) In its role as a bridge, natural gas seems to have a comfortable future. First, it will replace coal and nuclear “baseload” plants, and then, as renewables grow to supply the bulk of power, it will provide flexibility, filling in the gaps where variable renewables (wind and solar) fall short. By playing these multiple roles, natural gas will long outlive coal and prove useful well into the latter half of the 21st century. It will enjoy a long, slow exit. Or so the story goes."