New EPA Data Shows U.S. GHG Emissions Continue to Decline – Thanks to Natural Gas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its latest Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) data this week, demonstrating that reported U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions declined 2.6 percent in 2017 and by 12 percent since 2011. The new EPA data also shows that methane emissions from reporting oil and natural gas facilities continued to trend downward last year even as production soared to near record levels.

As E&E News reported, the overall GHG emission declines are “largely due to the rise of natural gas and renewable energy.” This sentiment was also echoed in a Washington Times article on the GHGRP,

“The U.S. has boasted the world’s largest emissions reductions nine times this century, said American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark J. Perry.

“’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…”

Similarly, American Petroleum Institute Senior Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman explained in a statement,

“The United States leads the world both in natural gas and oil production and in cutting GHG emissions – clean natural gas produced through advanced technologies like hydraulic fracturing is playing a significant role in driving carbon dioxide emissions to 25-year lows. Americans have the cleanest air in decades due in part to the increased use of natural gas to generate electricity, demonstrating that environmental protection and economic growth are not mutually exclusive.”

GHGRP data includes carbon dioxide and methane emissions reported to the EPA from large facilities and represents about half of total U.S. GHG emissions.

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