Report Calls for Closer Examination of Natural Gas’s Role in a Carbon-Constrained Future

Chuck Colgan's picture

CSE has published a policy paper titled Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel – Measuring the Bridge, which recognizes the role natural gas plays in phasing out the a nation’s use of dirtier fossil fuels, but concludes specific plans are needed to chart a course away from all fossil fuel use to achieve long-lasting greenhouse gas reductions. 

“With the exception of a few bumps and starts, the nation’s history with natural gas use has been to consume as much as we can, as quickly as possible,” said Steve Weissman, CSE’s senior policy advisor and the paper’s author. “As far as fossil fuels go, gas is perceived to be cheap, plentiful, versatile and cleaner than coal or oil. However, continued new investment in gas-fired plants thwarts efforts to stabilize greenhouse gasses.”

Read CSE's Energy Loop blog, Natural Gas - A Fuel Bridge Too Far

Coupled with ever-growing environmental concerns about large methane leaks and fracking, the paper suggests a need for policymakers and regulators to establish firm timelines to nearly eliminate natural gas from the nation’s energy portfolio for electrical power generation by 2050.

“Given the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s projections, unless the nation adopts and enacts policies to reduce reliance on natural gas over the next 35 years, the country will fail to meet long-term targets, even if it eliminates 100 percent of all other greenhouse gas emissions,” Weissman said.

The paper concludes that  the use of all fossil fuels, including natural gas, must have limits and deliberate steps can be taken to ensure that the nation’s natural gas use truly serves as a bridge, rather than a permanent, unsustainable pathway. Read the full report.


Chuck Colgan