The conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) praised the results of natural gas replacing coal power in an article published today by AEI scholar Mark J. Perry. Perry, writing on the AEI website, touted a long list of environmental and economic benefits created by natural gas replacing coal power as America’s leading source of electricity generation.
Perry noted the respiratory benefits of cleaner air provided by natural gas power. He also praised natural gas for reducing America’s greenhouse gas footprint.
“According to the Energy Information Administration, there has been a sharp reduction in power-plant emissions over a 10-year period,” wrote Perry. “Since the start of the shale revolution in 2006 and leading up to 2016, annual sulfur-dioxide emissions dropped 81 percent, from 9.5 million metric tons to 1.8 million tons, and nitrogen oxides fell from 3.8 million metric tons to 1.63 million tons, a reduction of 57 percent.”
“And over the same period, annual carbon-dioxide emissions dropped 22.5 percent, from 2.5 billion metric tons to 1.9 billion tons,” Perry added. “Today carbon-dioxide emissions from power production are at late-1980s levels. Think about it: Even as electricity production has risen, carbon emissions fell.”
Perry pointed out that natural gas is gaining market share as a result of its economic benefits. So even people not very concerned about improving air quality have reason to cheer the transformation to a natural gas economy.
“The fossil fuel revolution in the United States is profoundly changing not only the economics of oil and gas production but also the environment. When it comes to electricity, the economics increasingly favor low-cost abundant natural gas,” Perry summarized.
The United States can realize even more economic benefits by exporting natural gas to countries seeking to improve their air quality, like China and India.
“Natural gas is replacing coal, not only in the United States but also in China and India, two countries with fast-growing economies that are beginning to use imports of liquefied natural gas for electric power production. It’s a powerful demonstration that the significant benefits of the shale revolution are beginning to reach other countries and that the United States has the know-how and resources to play a major role globally in reducing carbon emissions,” Perry explained.