December 17, 2018

Natural Gas Has A Positive Impact On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

According to MSCI’s partners at the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance, natural gas has been the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction for the past decade and it can be for decades to come.

Using data from the authoritative 67thBP Statistical Review of World Energy, release in June 2018, EEIA found that, from 2007 to 2017 the United States and Europe combined to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 billion tons annually, from 10.7 to 9.2 billion tons, in large part due to increased use of natural gas for power generation. Over the same period, China and India combined to increase their carbon dioxide emissions from 8.6 to 11.6 billion tons. In other words, by 2017, for every ton of carbon dioxide emission removed from the atmosphere by the United States and Europe, China and India together added back two tons.

Over the same period, the United States and Europe combined to reduce coal consumption from about 1.5 billion tons to one billion tons annually. Conversely, China and India combined to increase their coal consumption from about 2.9 billion tons to 3.7 billion tons. Since almost all coal is used for power generation, one can see that these two Asian countries are cancelling out progress made in the United States and Europe on carbon dioxide reduction, by a factor of two, to fuel their growing demand for electricity.

Neither Asian country now has access to nearly enough regionally-produced natural gas to turn these numbers in the right direction. But U.S. LNG could fuel much of their growing power needs. Both countries also have plans to invest heavily in new generation capacity. If natural gas were available, gas rather than coal-fired generators could be built and run much more cheaply, efficiently and cleanly, as is happening now in the United States.