from Climate Central, August 5, 2014
- With a 2% leak rate, which is roughly the EPA’s current estimate, by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector would be about 10% lower than today. By 2060, we would reach a 24% reduction, still well short of the 30% target.
- With a 4% leak rate, by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation would be just 2% lower than today. If the shift to gas continues until 2060 at the same pace, we would see a 10% reduction in impact, or just one-third of the way to EPA’s 2030 reduction target of 30%. Notably, under this scenario, by 2060 half the coal power in the country would have to be replaced with natural gas to achieve a mere 10% reduction in emissions.
- Even if we assume there are no leaks anywhere in the entire natural gas system, it would take 30 years, until 2045, to achieve a 30% reduction in electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate Central’s interactive tool lets you assess the impact of other leak rates and coal-to-gas transitions. The fact is that even with modest leak rates and a fairly aggressive transition, we could still end up with little or no climate benefits by 2030 after an enormous financial and political investment in natural gas.