The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Natural Gas and CO2 Emissions

Erik Milito

Erik Milito
Posted July 17, 2015

Earlier this week Climate Central posted a story on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants noting that 41 states experienced reductions from 2008 to 2013, according to a study by Ceres, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Bank of America and four large utilities. The article notes the role that natural gas has played, but that is always worth another look.  Here is their map:

 State by State CO2 emissions map

According to the State Energy Data System, 31 states increased their use of natural gas for electrical generation between 2008 and 2013.  Comparing those states to the map finds that 87 percent of those states reduced emissions including 12 of the 14 states in the >20 percent category.  This should come as no surprise since the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last fall that natural gas was responsible for 62 percent of the overall decline of carbon intensity of electricity generation.


These two reports should lay to rest the misguided notion that increased natural gas use is incompatible with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but I suspect we will continue to hear this particular falsehood from opponents of the industry.  We will let them talk, and talk, and talk, and we will keep on actually doing things.


Erik Milito is the Director of Upstream and Industry Operations for API. Erik’s work covers regulatory and legislative matters related to domestic exploration and production, including access to domestic oil and natural gas resources both onshore and offshore. Prior to his current position, Erik served as managing counsel at API, covering a host of issues, including oil and gas leasing, royalty, environmental, fuels, transportation, safety, and civil justice reform.