EPA Administrator: Natural Gas “Enormously Beneficial” from a Climate Perspective

Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolls out its Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy had this to say in a recent interview:

Hydrofracking has certainly changed the energy dynamic considerably. You are absolutely right, it has created an opportunity for a shift…into natural gas, and that shift has been enormously beneficial from a clean air perspective, as well as from a climate perspective.” [emphasis added]

This isn’t the first time that McCarthy has touted the environmental benefits of natural gas. As she said in an interview last year,

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.” [emphasis added]

Numerous scientific organizations have agreed.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Energy Agency (IEA), and many others have said that natural gas is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, we’ve seen these significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions without U.S. Senate ratification of Kyoto and without Clean Power Plan regulations from the EPA.  As this chart demonstrates, greenhouse gas emissions have decreased as shale gas production has skyrocketed:


Later in the discourse, McCarthy offered her opinion on how natural gas production and development can help the American renewables industry thrive:

Folks are beginning to look at natural gas as more of a complement to strong renewables.”

EID has reported on this phenomenon before, detailing natural gas can aid wind and solar energy industries, by providing a source of ‘back-up’ essential to both renewable sources. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory further explains:

“Power generation based on natural gas offers the flexibility and increased dispatchability that complements renewable energy power generation.”

Not only does natural gas provide economic benefits and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, as the president and the EPA have long noted, natural gas also has environmental benefits that should be acknowledged and embraced.

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