Two White House officials voiced their support of natural gas this week, Politico reports.

John Podesta, an Obama adviser and former president of Center for American Progress, said at a meeting with reporters:

If you oppose all fossil fuels and you want to turn that switch off tomorrow, that is a completely impractical way of moving toward a clean-energy future. . . . With all due respect to my friends in the environmental community, if they expect us to turn off the lights and go home, that’s sort of an impractical suggestion.

And White House Office of Science and Technology policy director John Holdren said:

The basic story on methane, including from the LNG sector, is that the emissions are definitely big enough to be worth reducing, but they’re not big enough to imperil the advantage that natural gas has over coal as a way to generate electricity. . . . Obviously, the longer the world delays in taking aggressive action to reduce emissions, the more challenging it becomes to meet that target. And I would say it is now very challenging indeed. But what is perfectly clear is we know the direction in which we need to go. We need to reduce emissions and have a variety of tools for doing that, and we are using as many of them as we can.

Such realism is refreshing because, as I’ve noted on the home page today, natural gas is already improving both the U.S. economy and the environment. And exporting it would expand these benefits, also serving as an important foreign-policy tool.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center. She is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.