The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Natural Gas and Leading the World in Reducing CO2

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 18, 2018

There’s talk about reducing greenhouse gas emissions – and then there’s taking steps to produce measurable results. The United States is in the second category, with the natural gas and oil industry playing the leading role.

Two charts from the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark J. Perry help illustrate: First, using data gleaned from BP’s Statistical Review of Global Energy, Perry shows that the U.S. led the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in 2017:


From BP’s statistical review:

This is the ninth time in this century that the US has had the largest decline in emissions in the world. This also was the third consecutive year that emissions in the US declined … Carbon emissions from energy use from the US are the lowest since 1992, the year that the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) came into existence. [emphasis added]

On that second bolded point above, Perry’s second chart shows reductions in U.S. CO2 from electricity generation:


This remarkable progress results chiefly from increased use of abundant domestic natural gas. We have the benefits of this natural gas abundance – electricity generation fueled by natural gas could reach near record highs this summer – because of innovation and industry’s use of advanced technologies to harness U.S. shale reserves. Perry writes:

For that impressive “greening” of America, we can thank the underground oceans of America’s natural gas that are now accessible because of the revolutionary, advanced drilling and extraction technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal/directional drilling, and are increasingly displacing coal for the nation’s electricity generation.

Natural gas is allowing the U.S. to lead the world in lowering emissions – even as the economy expands. This is a major benefit of being the world’s leader in natural gas and oil production. Because the U.S. also is a global leader in the export of liquefied natural gas, the American growth/emissions reduction model can be replicated around the world.


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.