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Surge in Natural Gas Pushes Global Rise in Fossil Fuel Emissions

A hike in natural gas has helped drive down coal-burning across the U.S. and Europe, but it is not displacing other fossil fuels on a global scale. Instead, booming gas use is fueling the worldwide growth in greenhouse fuel emissions, according to a brand new study by researchers at Stanford University and different institutions.

Natural gas use is rising so fast, its carbon dioxide emissions over the past six years exceeded the drop in emissions from the falling use of coal, the researchers found.

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are failing to cut emissions fast enough, the report says, as much of their progress has offered new energy supplies instead of displacing fossil fuels.

The conclusions of the research, published Tuesday, support those from other latest study that found the world is continuing to rely on fossil fuels—along with coal—to meet rising energy demand, even as renewable energy sees hovering growth.

Jackson’s paper, printed in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, is one in all three included in the Global Carbon Project’s annual update on the world carbon budget.

They show that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are anticipated to grow by 0.6% this year. That might be significantly slower than in 2018 when emissions increased by 2.1%. However, it could mark the third straight year of development after three years of steady emissions. The evaluation doesn’t embody the methane emissions released by producing and delivering fossil fuels.

Each year of progress makes it harder and costlier to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement of limiting international warming under 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.


Helen Manilla

Helen is a chemical engineer mastered from the University of Delaware. She leads the Natural Gas column along with two associates who eye all the industry developments. Helen has built connections in all the major enterprises and policymakers so that she never misses on any update from the industry. Helen joined the group two years ago.

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