Shale Revolution: Substantial Climate Benefits, Even Larger Climate Opportunity

The predictions in Daniel Raimi’s new analysis of potential emissions trends from the oil and natural gas industry are already generating some doomsday headlines about climate impacts. Based on several scenarios and assumptions about oil and natural gas production, Raimi sees methane emissions going up over the next decade.

But it’s crucial for those covering this report from environmental think tank Resources for the Future to consider some of the limitations inherent in making such predictions (which Raimi himself transparently discusses) and several impactful trends that he did not explore.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

#1 Overall oil and natural gas methane emissions have decreased in recent decades, and shorter-term increases that have occurred are far below the growth of production.

#2 The report assumes a fixed rate of methane emissions, which is unrealistic, especially given commitments for voluntary reductions and improving technology.

#3 Liquefied natural gas  could be a game-changer for global emissions.

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