The reasoning is that natural gas releases less carbon than coal, so if we switch from coal to natural gas, then we'll reduce climate change.
Yes, I'm perfectly aware of that, and unlike you I know the science behind it. The problem is the next sentence of my post that you conveniently left out of your quote -- which is, if we don't actually reduce energy demand, we'll eventually run out of natural gas and have to burn the coal/oil anyway. So we just end up in the same place, just a few decades later.
Unlike you, GP is viewing the entire situation. You simply refuse to work your assumptions into both scenarios.
Also note my primary objection is to the beginning of TFS which implies we could STOP climate change by this substitution, which is in fact idiocy if anyone thought it true.
Let's imagine two scenarios:
1. Burn coal until coal becomes impractical, then switch to natural gas.
2. Burn natural gas (with declining use of coal due to current policy and economic factors) until that becomes impractical, then increase or switch back to coal.
If we don't actually "reduce energy demand," as you put it, we burn the same amount of carbon under either scenario. Yet the second scenario reduces carbon introduced into the system in the earlier years. If we do reduce "energy demand," by whatever means and at whatever time, there is a net carbon reduction.
Only your strawman is claiming that substition = solution. The rest of us are claiming that substition = mitigation. In any of the two scenarios where we dont burn until we "run out" of both resources, there is less carbon emitted by switching to natural gas. In the scenario where we do burn until we "run out" of both resources, there is a nominally greater amount of time for society and nature to adapt by using natural gas first. In the meantime we continue to develop and drive down the cost of other sources, to deploy those technologies, and to develop storage technologies to support personal and bulk transportation.
You claim that switching to natural gas is idiocy yet using natural gas is somewhere between neutral-to-improvement, is currently somewhat cheaper, and under a carbon tax would inherently be cheaper due to factors that you claim to be perfectly aware of. Yet science and economics be damned; you just want the biggest stick possible to force us to do it your way -- right now, all the way, regardless of cost, and "what storage problems?".
The idiocy is not only seeking to internalize the costs of fossil fuels, but seeking to reject any improvement in their use that is not a complete solution. The idiocy is thinking that people won't recognize that fact and call you on it. The idiocy is thinking that once the sciene is proven (which it is), everyone must automatically adopt your particular priorities and timetable because there are no value judgments involved (or only yours).
People rately cooperate with those who call them idiots. Until you have a comfortable majority -- which you do not -- you cannot afford to alienate those who are supporting relative improvements. So become perfectly aware of the sitatuion and stop engaging in equal idiocy yourself.