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Natural gas not as beneficial for carbon emissions cuts as previously thought

October 23, 2013
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The United States has made a big profit from the shale gas boom, which has helped the nation's economy to rebound and industries to thrive. Many experts also claim that the use of natural gas over conventional fuels will be beneficial for the environment, as it could help curb carbon emissions.

However, a new report by a panel of experts and modeling teams, released by Stanford's Energy Modeling Forum, claims that shale gas will have little effect on carbon-dioxide emissions and will do little to help tackle global warming.

One of the reasons for this is the fact that it is generally assumed that natural gas would replace coal only, rather than renewables, nuclear power and energy efficiency, which is likely to happen in fact. This means that natural gas will also be used instead of the really low-carbon energy sources. As a result, U.S. carbon emissions are projected to increase between 2010 and 2035, the Washington Post reported.

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According to the panel, there is only one way to achieve a real reduction in carbon emissions and that is for Congress to place a price on carbon.

But there is also some good news. Increased use of natural gas will help reduce the levels of other air pollutants, such as nitrogen-dioxide and sulfur-dioxide. When air becomes less polluted, Americans are going to be slightly better off, thanks to reduced health costs and longer lives, the report said.
 

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