NPR Critique of National Investment into Natural Gas Misses the Mark

This week, the federally-funded National Public Radio (NPR) published a news report criticizing the use of natural gas in the United States. NPR’s piece believes that natural gas may stand in the way of reaching our national climate goals set forth by President Biden – reporting that is pushing false narratives to the public. Natural gas is an important component of our energy portfolio, and with deep reserves of this important source, its utilization keeps America powered and environmentally-friendly.

Compared to crude oil or coal, natural gas is far more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels, and provides a stable energy buffer to the expedited green energy transition. The NPR story contains a quote from a researcher who makes the case against new natural gas power plants. He says “the consensus is that we need to be at net zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by about 2050 in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Continuing to build natural gas plants certainly seems at loggerheads with that commitment.”

However, the production, transportation, and use of natural gas in the United States is beneficial not only to the U.S. economy, but also for our climate goals. Since 2005, the primary energy sources for U.S. power generation has shifted from coal to natural gas and renewables. As the EIA reports, the U.S. electric power sector produced 32 percent less CO2 in 2019 compared to 2005.

This reduction in pollutants is directly related to the 27 percent decrease of coal’s share of US electricity generation and the 19 percent increase in total generation of natural gas in the same realm. It is important to support this momentum towards natural gas, being that it emits half as much carbon as coal when generating electricity.

The IEA’s data comes as the United States continues to produce record amounts of natural gas from the Marcellus, Utica, and Permian formations. Using domestic-sourced natural gas to produce electricity and heat American homes and businesses is key to further bolstering the economy and ensuring both grid reliability and energy security.

While not entirely emissions free, natural gas is far better than other electricity generating fossil fuels. It burns cleaner, moves safely and efficiently across our robust state-of-the-art pipeline network, and keeps electricity prices low. We need more natural gas to reduce carbon emissions, not less.

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