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3 MIN   |  Environment

Fueling Cleaner Nations Worldwide with American Natural Gas

How American energy exports are driving down carbon emissions worldwide

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September 25, 2020

Natural gas has made for a more reliable and affordable source of energy to fuel American homes, businesses, and industries, while also helping to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by shifting away from coal as the nation’s main power source. In fact, coal generation in the U.S. dropped from 50% to 24% between 2005 and 2019, while natural gas generation increased from 19% to nearly 40% in that time, with natural gas overtaking coal as the predominant source of electricity generation since 2016.

Now, other countries are joining the cleaner energy movement— and access to American liquefied natural gas is helping to make that possible. 

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is natural gas cooled to a liquid state, making it possible to ship to regions or countries that demand gas for power generation, petrochemicals, and other application. Today, LNG is the fastest-growing gas supply source, and demand for it is expected to increase worldwide as more nations turn to affordable and cleaner energy solutions.

Improving Air in China

China — the most populous nation in the world with nearly 1.4 billion residents — is working to build out its natural gas capacity. In the last few years, China has become one of the world’s largest natural gas importers.

Efforts to reduce air pollution, including emissions of nitrous oxides, sulphuric oxides and particulate matter, and the health challenges it poses to people living there, is also a major driver behind this shift. China ranks among the top 10 countries with the most deaths caused by air pollution, due to toxic smog lingering over its cities from using coal. According to a 2019 LNG report from Shell, switching from coal to gas has contributed to a 78% improvement in Beijing’s winter air quality over the last five years.

Driving Down Carbon Emissions

According to a recent API study, American natural gas will play a critical role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. In fact, using U.S. LNG instead of coal for electricity generation in China, Germany, and India produces, on average, 50.5% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Balancing energy needs at home with environmental concerns has long been a priority in the U.S. Over the last decade, the country has reduced carbon dioxide emissions in the power sector by 28%, and natural gas has played a major role in achieving that goal. This success at home will likely serve as a model for other countries looking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and still provide a stable source of energy to their people.

“U.S. LNG exports can help accelerate environmental progress across the globe, enabling nations to transition to cleaner natural gas to reduce emissions and address the global risks of climate change,” said Dustin Meyer, API Director of Market Development. 

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