Global Environmental & Societal Benefits of Western North America Natural Gas Development
The increased use of natural gas is helping lower the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), a primary greenhouse gas (GHG). As a fuel, the combustion of natural gas produces negligible amounts of sulfur, mercury, and particulates. Natural gas power generation also supports the integration of renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar. Natural gas-fueled generators can ramp up or down to smooth out the less predictable nature of wind and solar energy, further reducing CO2 and other power-related emissions.
The potential for natural gas exports to reduce Asia’s emissions is significant. In 2017, worldwide CO2 emissions increased by 1.4 percent. This increase is largely attributed to energy demand in Asia, and especially China and India. China has only pledged to stop increasing emissions by 2030, while the United States has since 2000 reduced absolute emissions by more than any other nation on Earth. The Energy Information Administration attributes this decrease to more natural gas usage in place of higher-emitting fuels, and increased renewable power deployment.
LNG has the potential to replicate the United States' success in rapidly improving the environment by giving access to a lower-emitting fuel choice to Asian nations.
LNG exports from North America can be a truly transformative force for the global environment, but that requires a whole-earth perspective instead of a narrow national or regional focus. That is why WSTN is bringing together like-minded, states, provinces, tribal nations and local government bodies to share this vision.
Exporting gas to Asia will also help to reduce energy poverty by providing an abundant, affordable fuel resource. In 2019, 740 million people worldwide had no access to electricity, and roughly 3 billion people - 40% of the world's population - cook and heat their homes with open fires or stoves fueled by kerosene, wood, animal dung or crop waste.
That's almost half of the world that suffers from emissions that pose a significant health risk to themselves and their families, and our global environment – because pollution knows no boundaries.