Activists Demonize Natural Gas While Cheering Its Clean-Air Benefits

Environmental activists who have cheered the ongoing power transition in the United Kingdom — which went a record 18 days and 6 hours of powering its electric grid without using coal — are overlooking an inconvenient fact for their cause. The UK was able to maintain its grid stability by increasing its use of natural gas, an energy source that activists have demonized even though it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a greater rate than renewables.

The UK’s latest coal-free run followed streaks of nearly four days in April and an additional week in early May. All of these were made possible by clean-burning natural gas — including a growing share of American gas imported as LNG — which has helped the power sector reduce its emissions levels to 25-year lows. Natural gas also accounts for the largest portion of the UK’s energy mix at 42 percent.

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