Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fight Climate Change with Natural Gas People Don't Realize That Shale Gas Has Helped Us Reduce Carbon Emissions, Writes Petroleum Geologist John J. Interval

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fight Climate Change with Natural Gas People Don't Realize That Shale Gas Has Helped Us Reduce Carbon Emissions, Writes Petroleum Geologist John J. Interval

Article excerpt

Today's heated debates about natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale often boil down to a single issue: the environmental impact from fracking. But a troubling aspect of the divide over shale gas production is that its dramatic effect on reducing America's carbon footprint is one that few people can discern.

To be sure, there are many reasons to favor horizontal drilling and fracking - thanks to this great technological innovation, natural gas production in the United States has increased as much as 27 percent since 2007 and the United States has eclipsed Russia as the world's No. 1 gas producer.

The shale revolution has contributed greatly to America's energy supply, produced a lot of revenue and jobs in Pennsylvania and other states, spurred a comeback in manufacturing, provided clean- burning fuel for transportation and bolstered our nation geopolitically. But don't lose sight of its environmental benefits, which in less than a decade have been game-changing.

The shale revolution is generating real-world consequences in the battle against climate change. For anyone concerned about the release of heat-trapping greenhouse emissions that are warming the planet, the switch from coal to natural gas is already producing a host of good effects.

Here in Pennsylvania, coal accounts for 39 percent of the state's electricity use, down from 48 percent in 2005, while the use of natural gas for power production has increased from 14 percent to 24 percent and is rising. Over the past decade, a reduction in airborne emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury and other particulates from coal burning has improved air quality, with beneficial results for public health, especially the elderly and people with asthma and lung ailments.

Nationally, the switch from coal to natural gas is the principal reason carbon dioxide emissions have dropped to 1990s levels, according to the International Energy Agency. Indeed, the United States has taken the lead globally in cutting carbon emissions. Credit for this goes to the increased use of natural gas in power production. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.