Full Title: Coal Killer: How Natural Gas Fuels the Clean Energy Revolution
Author(s): Alex Trembath, Max Luke, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus
Publisher(s): Breakthrough Institute
Publication Date: 6/2013
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The rapid replacement of coal by cheaper and cleaner natural gas has helped drive emissions down in the United States more than in any other country in the world in recent years. Cheap natural gas is crushing domestic demand for coal and is the main reason for the rapid decline in US carbon emissions. The gas revolution offers a way for the United States and other nations to replace coal burning while accelerating the transition to zero-carbon energy.
In the United States, coal-powered electricity went from 50 to 37 percent of the generation mix between 2007 and 2012, with the bulk of it replaced by natural gas. Energy transitions typically take many decades to occur, and the evidence suggests that the natural gas revolution is still in its infancy. The successful combination of new drilling, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), and underground mapping technologies to cheaply extract gas from shale and other unconventional rock formations has the potential to be as disruptive as past energy technology revolutions — and as beneficial to humans and our natural environment.
This report reviews the evidence and finds that natural gas is a net environmental benefit at local, regional, national, and global levels.