Issue Brief

The Shale Revolution and Climate Change

Jan 31, 2018 | Daniel Raimi

Summary

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.

Key Findings

  • 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.