WASHINGTON, DC—The “shale revolution” in the US has had globally significant economic and environmental impacts, with substantial debate over the effects on climate change. Yet, most research has focused far less on the climate impacts of increased oil production than on those of natural gas. Today, a new study posted by Resources for the Future (RFF) shows that the climate impacts of increased oil production may be substantially larger than the effects of natural gas production.
The paper is “The Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Increased US Oil and Gas Production.” The author is Daniel Raimi, RFF Senior Research Associate and author of book, The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution.
Raimi estimates emissions from the US energy sector under various levels of oil and gas production based on projections from the US Energy Information Administration, and includes the impact of methane emissions using estimates from the most recent research. Next, he estimates how lower global oil prices stemming from increased US production may affect global oil consumption and associated emissions.
Raimi states: “If we compare the high and low production scenarios, my central estimate is that US emissions in 2030 are about 260 million metric tons (MMT)—about 5 percent—higher. But the global effect of increased oil consumption is larger: about 450 MMT at the low end.” Importantly, this estimate assumes that OPEC or other nations do not coordinate production cuts to offset US gains.
Read the full report.