February 8, 2016

Carbon Emissions Drop with Growing Demand for Natural Gas

In a new column published in the Plain Dealer, Jackie Stewart, State Director for Energy In Depth-Ohio highlights the notable decline in U.S. carbon emissions triggered by the growing use of clean-burning natural gas. “Thanks to natural gas, carbon emissions from electricity production have declined to a 20-year low in the United States,” said Stewart, “Natural gas has reduced nearly 60 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than renewables since 2005.”

Furthermore, new data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows methane emissions in Ohio saw a 55 percent decrease from 2011 to 2013. “These reductions occurred despite the fact that Ohio nearly doubled production from 2012-2013,” Stewart notes.

Not all fossil fuels are created equal and as evidenced by this sharp drop in carbon emissions natural gas is one of the cleanest energy resources available. In fact, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that natural gas produces nearly half as much carbon dioxide as coal.

Affordable, domestic natural gas will clearly play an important role in America’s energy future. As Stewart points out, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has even said, “Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change.”

The main constraining factor for power plants seeking to transition to natural gas is the lack of adequate pipeline infrastructure needed to safely transport gas resources. In our region, existing energy infrastructure was not designed for natural gas, but rather for older market dynamics that relied on crude oil shipments from the Gulf of Mexico. New projects like the Rover Pipeline are essential to filling this void and providing the necessary capacity to deliver natural gas to new and expanding markets across our region.