In the last ten years Pennsylvania has become the second largest producer of natural gas in the country. Fuel switching from coal to cheaper natural gas for power generation and heating has resulted in significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. That’s good news, and one of the main reasons why our state was already well on its way to meeting the short-term objectives of the Clean Power Plan, itself now under its own cloud of political posturing.
The bad news is that emissions of methane – a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide – have been increasing in Pennsylvania in conjunction oil and gas production. But there is a silver lining: reducing methane emissions is cost-effective, technologically feasible, creates jobs, saves consumers money, and is already being done by industry in other states.
It’s both the “low hanging fruit” and “win-win” scenario often discussed when discussing environmental and energy policy. For natural gas to reach its true energy potential for Pennsylvania, methane emissions must be addressed.