As environmental activists become increasingly vocal in their push to ban further development of natural gas, it is important to understand that natural gas produced in the Marcellus Shale and other regions of America is actually playing a critically important role in helping the United States reduce carbon emissions, not increase them.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions decreased by 14 percent since 2005, during a time when domestic natural gas production and use increased dramatically.
The shift to using more clean, affordable natural gas for power generation has driven these reductions and made the United State a global leader in climate solutions, EIA data show. Just in Pennsylvania, carbon emissions from the power sector have fallen 39 percent since 2005 while the share of electricity generated by natural gas has grown from 5 percent of the state’s mix to 34 percent.
As the EIA recently noted in its carbon emissions overview:
“A major factor in recent reductions in the carbon intensity of electric generation in the United States is the reduced generation of electricity using coal at the same time that generation has increased using natural gas, which emits less CO2 for the same amount of electricity generated.”
The MSC’s David Spigelmyer credited these huge clean-air benefits to “innovations in technology, tightening environmental performance standards and increased use of natural gas” when he testified this fall before the U.S. House of Representatives. As he told lawmakers:
“Nationally, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2017 total greenhouse gas emissions across the United States reached their lowest levels in 25 years, propelling the U.S. to the world leader in CO2 emissions reductions. This is not despite the shale revolution but rather because of it.
“Without a doubt, any conversation about clean energy must be grounded in the partnership that will make its future possible. Supporting a thriving natural gas industry – from production to pipeline deployment to its growth in electric generation – should be a core focus of any public policy discussions aimed at building upon the progress our industry has realized for Pennsylvania and the nation.”
Our industry in Pennsylvania and across the United States is leading the way in reducing air emissions and solving climate issues. Enacting smart policies that support furthering natural gas development – instead of limiting or banning it – will ensure these meaningful environmental benefits continue.
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