Report: Natural Gas Pivotal to Reduction In Emissions

Jun 14, 2017

Benchmarking Air EmissionsA new report highlights the positive impact that natural gas is having on air quality in the United States. 

Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United Statesa report by M.J. Bradley & Associates concluded that since 2000, air emissions have dropped significantly even as the economy has grown.

Looking at the 100 largest U.S. electric power generation companies, which combine to generate 85% of the country's electricity, the report reveals a reduction in CO2 emissions by 20% between 2005-2015, with signs of an even sharper decline in 2016.The report also sites natural gas as a contributing factor in reducing emissions, saying:

"In 2016, CO2 emissions were 19 percent lower than 2000 levels. Over the same period, total U.S electricity generation increased by 7 percent, while GDP grew 33 percent. Increased natural gas generation and a decrease in coal generation, driven in large part by low natural gas prices, have contributed to the reduction in emissions. Over the last decade and a half, natural gas generation has more than doubled,"

Emissions & Natural Gas

M.J. Bradley & Associates goes on to state in the report that between 2008 and 2016 natural gas combined-cycle capacity factors rose, from 40% to 56%.

The trends highlighted in this report show the impact that cheap, clean-burning natural gas, driven largely by production from shale, is having on our air quality. These trends and benefits aren't limited to just the United States though. The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that global CO2 emissions were flat for the 3rd consecutive year, despite the global economy growth.

IEA cites the "switch from coal to natural gas" as one of the critical reasons for the decoupling of emissions and economic activity.

"Natural gas production in the United States could keep growing strongly in the years to come. This could have three main consequences: it could boost domestic manufacturing, supply more competitive gas to Asia through to LNG exports, and provide alternative gas supplies to Europe."