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New Study Links Increased Use of Natural Gas to Longer, Healthier Life

Kate Wallace

Kate Wallace
Posted August 23, 2016

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) released a new paper discussing the role of natural gas in public health throughout Turkey. The study focused on the relationship between the adoption of natural gas services and the mortality rates of adults and the elderly. Furthermore, the NBER released a study in February that focused on the relationship between the use of natural gas and infant mortality rates in Turkey.

Both studies found that the widespread adoption of natural gas as a fuel would decrease mortality rates. Results from the new study show that the expansion of natural gas services has helped significantly reduce mortality rates of adults and the elderly. Ultimately, a “one-percentage point increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would lower the overall mortality rate by 1.4 percent, the adult mortality rate by 1.9 percent, and the elderly mortality rate by 1.2 percent.” The February study also found that a one percent increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would decrease the infant mortality rate by 4 percent.

Over the last two decades there has been an increase in the use of natural gas as a fuel for space heating and cooking, due to the expansion of natural gas networks throughout Turkey. Not surprisingly, this expanding use of natural gas has ultimately reduced greenhouse gas emissions and significantly improved air quality, decreasing the impact of air quality on public health in Turkey. These side effects of natural gas use should come as no surprise. The U.S. is a leading example of the many public health, climate, and economic benefits of natural gas use. For example, U.S. carbon dioxide levels are near 20 year lows and emissions in 2015 were 12% below 2005 levels, all because of an increase in the use of natural gas. 

US energy carbon emissions reductions

And let’s not forget that these benefits of natural gas use are not possible without proper energy infrastructure. The development of natural gas systems is crucial in reducing emissions and providing a better life for communities around the globe, Turkey included. These studies are yet another reminder that energy policies matter on a daily basis for real people. High energy is not just a lifestyle, modern energy systems are life itself. There have been tremendous gains worldwide in reducing poverty and improving health. We must not let politics stand in the way of this progress.


Kate Wallace is an associate of research and content development for the American Petroleum Institute. Before joining API she was a researcher and policy analyst at America’s Natural Gas Alliance, and worked on pollinator conservation programs and state wildlife conservation policies before entering the energy industry. Kate graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in Resource Economics, and earned her Master of Public Administration from George Mason University. She loves taking her dogs on hikes, travelling and navigating the northern Virginia/DC craft beer and wine scenes with her friends and family.