Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas
from Union of Concerned Scientists

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, though the global warming emissions from its combustion are much lower than those from coal or oil.
Natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) when combusted in a new, efficient natural gas power plant compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant. Considering only tailpipe emissions, natural gas also emits 15 to 20 percent less heat-trapping gases than gasoline when burned in today’s typical vehicle.

Emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes, however, do not tell the full story.

The drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells and its transportation in pipelines results in the leakage of methane, primary component of natural gas that is 34 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat over a 100-year period and 86 times stronger over 20 years.

» Read more of this report


An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty
By United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

October 6, 2018   For summaries of this report, search CLIMATE NEWS below for articles published just after this date.


» World has no capacity to absorb new fossil fuel plants, warns IEA
Watchdog says new projects must be low carbon or existing plants must be cleaned up
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
November 12, 2018

» With Democratic Majority, Climate Change Is Back on U.S. House Agenda
Fossil fuel supporters will still control the Senate, but the House will soon be able to turn a spotlight on climate change and Trump’s retreat from responsibility.
By Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimate News
November 7, 2018

» More Evidence Points to China as Source of Ozone-Depleting Gas
By Chris Buckley, New York Times
November 3, 2018

» MAPC Launches Accelerating Climate Resiliency Grants
By Elise Harmon, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
November 2, 2018

» Global Warming Is Messing with the Jet Stream. That Means More Extreme Weather. 
By Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News
October 31, 2018

» Taking the Oceans’ Temperature, Scientists Find Unexpected Heat
By Kendra Pierre-Louis, New York Times
October 31, 2018

» Spain to close most coalmines in €250m transition deal
Agreement with unions includes early retirement for miners, re-skilling and environmental restoration
Arthur Neslen, The Guardian
October 26, 2018

» Scientists Push for a Crash Program to Scrub Carbon From the Air
By Brad Plumer, New York Times
October 24, 2018

» A Record Number of Scientists Are Running for Congress, and They Get Climate Change
More than a dozen scientists are candidates for U.S. House and Senate seats this year in a wave fueled by the Trump Administration’s anti-science agenda.
By Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimate News
October 23, 2018

» Young People Are Suing the Trump Administration Over Climate Change. She’s Their Lawyer.
By John Schwartz, New York Times
October 23, 2018

» What Jair Bolsonaro’s Victory Could Mean for the Amazon, and the Planet
By Somini Sengupta
October 17, 2018

» What’s at Stake in Brazil’s Election? The Future of the Amazon
By Somini Sengupta, New York TImes
October 17, 2018

» Fixing the Climate Requires More Than Technology
Major transformations can happen in a generation. But not without government help.
By Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, New York Times
October 16, 2018

» Heat and Drought Could Threaten World Beer Supply
A new study says a warming globe will be bad news for barley, an essential ingredient in the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage.
By James Gorman, New York Times
October 15, 2018

» In an era of climate urgency, we need a carbon tax
By Editorial Staff, Boston Globe
October 15, 2018

» After Nobel in Economics, William Nordhaus Talks About Who’s Getting His Pollution-Tax Ideas Right
A few governments — notably, parts of Canada and South Korea — have adapted his ideas in ways that frame them as a financial windfall for taxpayers.
By Coral Davenport, New York Times
October 13, 2018

» ‘Vast Blind Spot’: IPCC Accused of Ignoring ‘Decades Long’ Fossil Fuel Misinformation Campaign on Climate
By Graham Readfearn, DeSmog Blog
October 12, 2018

» Climate Science Deniers Respond to IPCC 1.5C Report with Anger, Fear, and Distortion
By Mike Small, DeSmog UK
October 11, 2018

» The Climate Outlook Is Dire. So, What’s Next?
By Somini Sengupta, New York Times
October 9, 2018

» Overwhelmed by climate change? Here’s what you can do
From campaigning to installing insulation and solar panels, some practical steps you can take to help avoid climate breakdown
By Matthew Taylor and Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
October 8, 2018

» We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN
Urgent changes needed to cut risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty, says IPCC
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian
October 8, 2018

» Five things we have learned from the IPCC report
By Matt McGrath, BBC News
October 8, 2018

» The IPCC’s Recipe for a Livable Planet: Grow Trees, Don’t Burn Them
Blog post by Partnership for Policy Integrity
October 7, 2018

» Carbon Dioxide Is Shriveling Men’s Balls
By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones
October 7, 2018

» Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040
By Coral Davenport, New York Times
October 7, 2018

» Trump Administration Prepares a Major Weakening of Mercury Emissions Rules
By Coral Davenport, New York Times
September 30, 2018

» World ‘nowhere near on track’ to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target
Exclusive: Author of key UN climate report says limiting temperature rise would require enormous, immediate transformation in human activity
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian
September 27, 2018

» E.P.A. to Eliminate Office That Advises Agency Chief on Science
By Coral Davenport, New York Times
September 27, 2018

» Luxury Real Estate Boom Adds to Risk of Climate Disruption
Should cities build new fossil fuel pipelines to power skyscrapers for the super-rich?
By Chuck Collins,
September 14, 2018

» Report: 90 Percent of World’s Largest 200 Industrial Firms Are Using Trade Associations to Oppose Climate Policy
By Chloe Farand, DeSmog Blog
September 12, 2018

» The World’s Fifth-Largest Economy, California, Just Committed to 100% Carbon-Free Power by 2045
By Brittany Shoot, Fortune Magazine
September 10, 2018

» Trump Administration Wants to Make It Easier to Release Methane Into Air
By Coral Davenport, New York Times
September 10, 2018

» U.N. Chief Warns of a Dangerous Tipping Point on Climate Change
By Somini Sengupta, New York Times
September 10, 2018

» California Ups Its Clean Energy Game: Gov. Brown Signs 100% Zero-Carbon Electricity Bill
It’s a bold move in a state that’s already seeing the devastation that comes with climate change, including heat waves, droughts, wildfires and sea level rise.
By Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimate News
September 10, 2018

» BBC admits ‘we get climate change coverage wrong too often’
Briefing sent to editorial staff on global warming says ‘you do not need a denier to balance the debate’
By Damian Carrington Environment editor, The Guardian
September 7, 2018

» You’ve Heard of Outsourced Jobs, but Outsourced Pollution? It’s Real, and Tough to Tally Up.
By Brad Plumer, New York Times
September 4, 2018

» The Climate-Wrecking Industry—and How to Beat It
Insisting that we’re all responsible for global warming lets the biggest corporate polluters off the hook
By Jason Mark, The Nation / Republished by The Sierra Club
August 30 2018
This article was originally published in The Nation magazine’s special issue, “Jerry Brown vs. the Climate Wreckers,” and is republished here with permission.

» The Global Rightward Shift on Climate Change
President Trump may be leading the rich, English-speaking world to scale back environmental policies.
By Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic
August 28, 2018

» California Lawmakers Set Goal for Carbon-Free Energy by 2045
By Ivan Penn, New York Times
August 28, 2018

» Comment: Why I Remain Optimistic about Stopping Earth Becoming a ‘Hothouse’
By Payal Parekh, Programme Director of campaign group, in DeSmog UK
August 23, 2018

» Trump Put a Low Cost on Carbon Emissions. Here’s Why It Matters.
By Brad Plumer, New York Times
August 23, 2018

» Australia Wilts From Climate Change. Why Can’t Its Politicians Act?
By Damien Cave, New York Times
August 21, 2018

» ‘The Biggest Climate Story No One Is Talking About’
By Brad Plumer, Kendra Pierre-Louis and Tryggvi Adalbjornsson, New York Times
August 15, 2018

» Judge Dismisses Youth Climate Change Lawsuit in Washington State
The state judge wrote that climate change poses urgent threats, but that it should be solved by the executive and legislative branches, not the courts.
By Georgina Gustin, InsideClimate News
August 15, 2018

» 2018 Is Shaping Up to Be the Fourth-Hottest Year. Yet We’re Still Not Prepared for Global Warming.
It’s hot. But it may not be the new normal yet. Temperatures are still rising.
By Somini Sengupta, New York Times
August. 9, 2018

» Will Energy Efficiency Stall Climate Disruption?
By David Suzuki, DeSmog Blog
August 8, 2018

» Reflecting sun’s rays would cause crops to fail, scientists warn
Research shows geoengineering method intended to combat climate change would have adverse effect on agriculture
By Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent, The Guardian
August 8, 2018

» Domino-effect of climate events could move Earth into a ‘hothouse’ state
Leading scientists warn that passing such a point would make efforts to reduce emissions increasingly futile
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian
August 7, 2018

» California Strikes Back Against the Trump Administration’s Auto Pollution Rollback
By Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times
August 7, 2018

» ‘Doing the Lord’s Work’ Heartland Institute Gathers Climate Deniers For America First Energy Conference
By Graham Readfearn, DeSmog Blog
August 6, 2018

» It’s So Hot, 119°F Rain Fell In Southern California
California possibly saw its hottest rain on record in recent days.
By Hoa Quách, Murieta Patch Staff
August 6, 2018

» Trump Inaccurately Claims California Is Wasting Water as Fires Burn
By Lisa Friedman, NY Times
August 6, 2018

» Scientists mock Trump’s tweet on wildfires as ‘comedically ill-informed’ and ‘unmitigated crap’
Trump’s climate denial is “a crime against the planet” warns climatologist.
By Joe Romm, Think Progress
August 6, 2018

» Study: Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
By Will Steffen, Johan Rockström, Katherine Richardson, Timothy M. Lenton, Carl Folke, Diana Liverman, Colin P. Summerhayes, Anthony D. Barnosky, Sarah E. Cornell, Michel Crucifix, Jonathan F. Donges, Ingo Fetzer, Steven J. Lade, Marten Scheffer, Ricarda Winkelmann, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, PNAS
August 6, 2018

» Destructive Flood Risk in U.S. West Could Triple if Climate Change Left Unchecked
Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada communities are at risk from rapidly rising rivers, as ‘rain-on-snow’ flash floods become more frequent under climate change.
By Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News    
August 6, 2018

» Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules
By Coral Davenport, New York Times
August 2, 2018

» Fueled by Pollution and Unsound Policies, Toxic Algae Overtakes Florida Beaches and Waterways
By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog
August 2, 2018

» Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change.
By Nathaniel Rich, New York Times Magazine
August 1, 2018

» EPA reverses order allowing polluting diesel truck engines
By Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press in Chicago Tribune
July 31, 2018

» Trump Administration to Halt Clean Car Standards, Revoke California’s Right to Regulate
By Ben Jervey, DeSmog Blog
July 24, 2018

» California Wants to Reinvent the Power Grid. So What Could Go Wrong?
By Ivan Penn, New York Times
July 20, 2018

» Turning Trump’s Trade War Into a Tool to Fight Climate Change
What if countries responded to Trump’s tariffs by taxing imports based on their carbon footprint instead?
By Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News
July 16, 2018

» Nobel-Winning Economist to Testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit
Joseph Stiglitz writes in a court brief that fossil fuel-based economies impose ‘incalculable’ costs on society and shifting to clean energy will pay off.
By Georgina Gustin, Inside Climate News
July 11, 2018

» Nights Are Warming Faster Than
Days. Here’s Why That’s Dangerous.
July 11, 2018

» The carbon floor price – a hammer in need of a toolbox
By Richard Cowart, EnergyPost
July 6, 2018

» Pruitt Is Gone. But These Five E.P.A. Policy Battles Are Still Ahead.
By Brad Plumer, New York Times
July 6, 2018

» 76 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump
July 6, 2018

» Global warming may be twice what climate models predict
Alvin Stone, Newsroom – UNSW Sydney
July 5, 2018

» Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week
By Jason Samenow, Washington Post
July 5, 2018

» Germany warns R1234yf could cause harm to drinking water
By Charlotte McLaughlin,
Jul 02, 2018

» Planet Earth Gets a Ground Game
Political operative Nathaniel Stinnett’s brilliantly simple plan to turn out environmental voters.
By Gilad Edelman, Washington Monthly Magazine
April/May/June 2018

» These Are the Toughest Emissions to Cut, and a Big Chunk of the Climate Problem
Without improvements in shipping, cement and steel, major sources of greenhouse gas pollution will be locked in for generations, new research shows.
By Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News
June 28, 2018

» Are we stuck with cement?
The cement industry has little reason to improve its material’s enormous environmental impact.
By Mike Disabato, The Outline
June 28, 2018

» Global Warming in South Asia: 800 Million at Risk
June 28, 2018

» Kennedy’s Retirement Could Clear Path for Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks
By Brad Plumer, New York Times
June 28, 2018

» In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China
By Chris Buckley and Henry Fountain, New York Times
June 24, 2018

» Ex-Nasa scientist: 30 years on, world is failing ‘miserably’ to address climate change
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian
June 19, 2018

» 30 Years Ago Global Warming Became Front-Page News – and Both Republicans and Democrats Took It Seriously
By Robert Brulle, Drexel University, DeSmog Blog
June 19, 2018

» Antarctica Is Melting Three Times as Fast as a Decade Ago
By Kendra Pierre-Louis, New York Times
June 13, 2018

» Researchers say they can capture carbon dioxide from the air — and recycle it back into fuel
By Martin Finucane, The Boston Globe
June 07, 2018

» Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years
By Oliver Wilman, The Guardian UK
June 6, 2018

» Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous.
A new study shows that storms are staying in one place longer, much like Hurricane Harvey did last year.
By Kendra Pierre-Louis, New York Times
June 6, 2018

» E.P.A. Takes a Major Step to Roll Back Clean Car Rules
By Coral Davenport, New York Times
May 31, 2018

» Former EPA head Gina McCarthy knows why climate change activists aren’t getting their message across
Now at Harvard, the Obama administration alum admits it’s been hard to watch the Trump administration take aim at the work she’s proudest of. But she hasn’t lost hope.
By Neil Swidey, Boston Globe Magazine
May 22, 2018

» An Extreme Climate Forces Extreme Measures as Worst-Case Predictions Are Realized
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report
May 21, 2018

» Washington county files climate lawsuit to protect Pacific’s billion-dollar shellfish industry: King County – which includes Seattle – has joined the growing movement of climate liability lawsuits.
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress
May 10, 2018

» Trump White House quietly cancels NASA research verifying greenhouse gas cuts
By Paul Voosen, Science Magazine
May 9, 2018

» A Massive Climate Change Study Is Canceled … Because of Climate Change
By Doug Criss, CNN
May 7, 2018

» Carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere reach ‘highest level in 800,000 years’
Levels exceed average of 410 parts per million across an entire month for the first time
By Chloe Farand, The Independent
May 5, 2018

» “Water, water everywhere”: Mass. program helps towns prepare for climate change
By Meg Bantle, Valley Advocate
April 25, 2018

» Global Green Cement Market Analysis & Forecast 2018-2023
April 25, 2018

» Climate Lawsuits, Once Limited to the Coasts, Jump Inland
By John Schwartz
April 18, 2018

» World May Hit 2 Degrees of Warming in 10-15 Years Thanks to Fracking, Says Cornell Scientist
Includes video of lecture by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Cornell University
By Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog
April 11, 2018

» An Eye in the Sky Could Detect Planet-Warming Plumes on the Ground
By John Schwartz
April 11, 2018

» New Research Confirms ‘Catastrophic’ Climate Threat: Global Sea Levels Could Rise 174 Feet From Melting East Antarctic Ice Sheet
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network
December 18, 2017

» The quest to create carbon-negative concrete
Heather Clancy, GreenBiz
December 6, 2017

» An impressive collection of stories on climate change impact in Massachusetts
WBUR Radio, Boston
December 2017

» 15,000 Scientists Who Issued a Bleak ‘Second Notice’ to Humanity Say These 9 Steps May Save Us
By David Meyer, Fortune
November 14, 2017

» 9 Takeaways From the
National Climate Report
August 8, 2017

» Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report
By LISA FRIEDMAN, New York Times
August 7, 2017

Read the report
U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Rrport (CSSR)

» Fifth-Order (Final) Draft
June 28, 2017

» Natural Gas Emissions to Surpass Those of Coal in 2016
By Bobby Magill, Climate Central
August 30th, 2016
 » Is Natural Gas a Bridge Fuel?
By Zeke Hausfather, Yale Climate Connections
August 23, 2016

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says that climate change is a public health issue.
By Alan Neuhauser Staff Writer, US News & World Report
May 6, 2016

» Carbon Negative Cement: Turning a Climate Liability into an Asset
By Wojciech Osowiecki, Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC)
March 24, 2015

» What Happened to Green Concrete?
Concrete that absorbs carbon dioxide has made slow progress but is finally hitting the market.
By Kristin Majcher, MIT Technology Review
March 19, 2015