“Natural” gas isn’t a climate solution, it’s a climate problem

June 20, 2023


Gas Leaks


For decades, the fossil fuel industry told us that “natural” (methane) gas was a “bridge fuel” to clean energy — a supposedly cleaner alternative to coal or oil that could fill the gap until clean energy was ready. 


News flash: clean energy has been ready for years. Wind and solar power are now the cheapest forms of new energy and are being paired with energy storage solutions like batteries, reliably providing clean electricity even when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. 

But the push to make us more dependent on methane gas isn’t stopping. Most recently, the industry used a must–pass Congressional bill about the federal debt limit to fast track approval of the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline. If built, the project would destroy sensitive habitat in the Appalachian mountains and create as much climate pollution as 23 new coal plants.


Climate and energy modeling experts are clear: there’s no more room for more gas infrastructure if we’re going to avoid the worst climate outcomes. The International Energy Agency is calling for an immediate pivot from gas to clean electricity — including no new oil and gas drilling and no new gas furnaces installed by 2025. 

But the methane gas industry keeps expanding at a frightening pace:

  • The industry continues to push for more gas export terminals that keep the world dependent on methane gas, in conflict with climate science. The industry wants to double or triple its export capacity on the Gulf Coast, polluting the air and water in communities of color. The Biden Administration also recently approved a massive gas export facility in Alaska that would crowd out clean energy development in Asia and increase Alaska’s statewide climate pollution by nearly 30%.
  • Nationwide, the gas industry has applied for permits for more than 469 miles of new major gas pipelines with capacity for 16.8 billion cubic feet per day of additional methane gas, the climate equivalent of more than 200,000 new gas-powered cars on the road.
  • A new building is connected to the gas system once a minute in the United States, ensuring that these new buildings will be burning fossil fuels for decades to come. And the gas industry is working overtime to undermine city and county leaders that want to see new construction built with cleaner, safer electric appliances.

When you’re in a hole, the first step is to stop digging. But the methane gas industry won’t put down the shovel, and they’re leaving us to clean up the mess. The science is clear: avoiding the worst climate outcomes means no more fossil fuels like methane gas. 


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