The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about to finalize regulations on the oil and gas industry to reduce methane emissions. EPA says it wants to regulate methane to mitigate climate change, since methane is a greenhouse gas. But as EID’s new video and infographic show, study after study has found that methane emissions from the entire natural gas system are already very low – well below the threshold at which scientists say natural gas may lose its greenhouse gas advantage. Further, a new study in the journal Science found that oil and gas production is not to blame for the global spike in emissions.
Energy In Depth has done the math and it shows that EPA’s methane regulations will only achieve a reduction in global temperatures of 0.0047 degrees Celsius, or four one-thousandths of one degree, by the year 2100.
Meanwhile, it’s thanks to fracking that the United States is the only country in the world to achieve dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. As the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explained in its Fifth Assessment Report,
“[T]he rapid deployment of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal-drilling technologies, which has increased and diversified the gas supply…is an important reason for a reduction of GHG emissions in the United States.”
The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) has said,
“In the United States, emissions declined by 2% (in 2015), as a large switch…to natural gas use in electricity generation took place.”
EPA even noted the large role natural gas plays in reducing emissions in its 2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventory:
“Recently, a decrease in the carbon intensity of fuels consumed to generate electricity has occurred due to…increased natural gas consumption and other generation sources.”
EPA’s new rules will have virtually no impact on global temperatures. But they will make it much more difficult to produce the fuel that has been responsible for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Watch EID’s new video – “Fracking and Methane: What You Need to Know” – to learn more.