Full Title: A Review of Water and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development in the United States
Author(s): Douglas Arent , Jeffrey Logan, Jordan Macknick, William Boyd, Kenneth Medlock III, Francis O’Sullivan, Jae Edmonds, Leon Clarke, Hillard Huntington, Morgan Bazilian, Garvin Heath, and Patricia Statwick
Publisher(s): MRS Energy & Sustainability : A Review Journal
Publication Date: 05/2015
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This paper reviews recent developments in the production and use of unconventional natural gas in the United States with a focus on environmental impacts. Specifically, we focus on water management and greenhouse gas emission implications. If unconventional natural gas in the United States is produced responsibly, transported and distributed with little leakage, and incorporated into integrated energy systems that are designed for future resiliency, it could play a significant role in realizing a more sustainable energy future. The cutting-edge of industry water management practices gives a picture of how this transition is unfolding, although much opportunity remains to minimize water use and related environmental impacts. The role of natural gas to mitigate climate forcing is less clear. While natural gas has low CO 2 emissions upon direct use, methane leakage and long term climate effects lead to the conclusion that increased use of natural gas as a substitute for more carbon intensive fuels will not substantially alter world carbon dioxide concentration projections, and that other zero or low carbon energy sources will be needed to limit GHG concentrations. We conclude with some possible avenues for further work.