The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Shale Natural Gas is Reducing Emissions, Increasing Opportunity

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 4, 2014

It’s hard to overstate the significance of the role that abundant, clean-burning natural gas had in bringing U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to a 20-year low in 2012. While the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expected 2013 emissions to inch up – mostly due to increased coal use in electrical generation – the projected level still would be more than 10 percent below where emissions were in 2005. EIA’s chart:



Emissions in 2013 are slightly more than 10% below 2005 levels, a significant contribution towards the goal of a 17% reduction in emissions from the 2005 level by 2020 that was adopted by the current Administration. This level of reduction is expected to continue through 2015, according to EIA's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook.

While lowering CO2 emissions is talked about in various circles, the fact is the United States already is doing it, thanks largely to natural gas – 60 percent of the U.S. total produced with advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Energy In Depth has a new infographic that underscores the natural gas/lower CO2 emissions connection:


In the infographic’s middle chart, U.S. emissions reductions 2000-2012 are ahead of the European Union and well ahead of other large developing countries and China. The top chart shows that decreasing emissions has coincided with surging domestic shale natural gas production.

The resulting abundance of natural gas is creating jobs, helping boost household disposable income, increasing revenues to governments, fueling a manufacturing renaissance and providing the U.S. with a golden opportunity to be a global energy leader – with the “potential to change the security environment around the world,” as Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey recently said.

All while having a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Energy In Depth’s post quotes EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy:

“… natural gas has been a game changer with our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions that have been very hard to get our arms around for many decades.”

U.S. natural gas, safely and responsibly developed with fracking, is helping lead the American energy revolution while also helping reduce emissions. With increased access to reserves and a sensible regulatory approach, we can see this revolution continue and grow. America’s energy, America’s choice.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.