This issue brief describes the short- and long-term effects of the US shale revolution on climate change, and the role of government policies in managing those impacts.
- Lower natural gas prices have reduced CO2 emissions by displacing coal.
- Methane emissions reduce, but likely do not negate, these benefits.
- Lower gas and oil prices encourage greater consumption, increasing CO2 emissions.
- Absent climate policy, long-term emissions trends are similar with or without the shale revolution.
- With climate policy, low-cost natural gas can reduce the near-term costs of further displacing coal.