Environmental & Societal Benefits of Western North America Natural Gas Development, Globally
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. The use of natural gas for 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 emissions related to power generation.
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, China and India. China’s GHG emissions increased by 1.7 percent. The U.S. stands in stark contrast to these trends, leading the world in reductions by lowering carbon emissions by 0.5% in 2017. This is largely attributed to U.S. access to natural gas, and its greater employment in power generation.
LNG has the potential to help the rest of the world in meeting its emission reduction goals. By displacing more carbon-intensive hydrocarbon fuel choices, LNG can help other nations reduce their greenhouse emissions in the same way as the U.S. has.
LNG exports from North America can be a truly transformative force for the entire world. But we have to take a global rather than a nationally-focused view of the environment to succeed, which 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 2017, 992 million people worldwide had no access to electricity. And almost 40 percent of the earth’s population (nearly 3 billion people) currently cook and heat their homes with open fires or stoves fueled by kerosene, wood, animal dung or crop waste. These energy sources are responsible for fine particulate matter emissions and pose a significant health risk to them and our global environment – because pollution knows no boundaries.