The Shale Revolution and Climate Change

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.



Jan. 31, 2018


Daniel Raimi


Issue Brief

Reading time

1 minute

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.


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