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Energy, Security, and Climate

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Showing posts for "Natural Gas"

Revisiting a Major Methane Study

by Michael Levi

The ongoing fight over whether shale gas operations are leaking dangerous amounts of methane – a question that many have called critical to determining whether shale gas is good or bad – has suffered from a paucity of data. That’s why a much talked about study, authored by thirty scientists (mostly from NOAA) and published in early February, made such big waves: it was the first (and remains the only) study to estimate shockingly high emissions based on actual observations in the field (data was collected in Colorado in 2008). Read more »

Why Have U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Plummeted?

by Michael Levi

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions for January-May are down six percent from 2011 to 2012. Headlines have highlighted the fact that emissions from January-March hit a twenty year low. What explains the shift?

That question has been the subject of intense debate. John Hanger argues that 77 percent of that decline can be attributed to the shift from coal to gas. The folks over at CO2Scorecard, looking at January-March data, put that number at a more modest 21 percent. These are drastically different figures. What number should we believe? Read more »

How to Stop Natural Gas Exports

by Michael Levi

The ongoing debate over whether to allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports has featured a recurrent theme: people insist that the gas would be better used within the United States. “We will go down,” T. Boone Pickens has written, “as the dumbest generation ever if we export our clean, cheap, abundant supplies of natural gas in favor of dirtier, more expensive OPEC oil.” In a letter to the editor today responding to my op-ed on the subject of a couple weeks ago, Bob Bailey writes, “We finally have an alternative to foreign oil in the form of natural gas, and Mr. Levi wants to ship it overseas. I’m confused. Why don’t we keep this resource here? Use it here?” Read more »

The Climate Change Limits of U.S. Natural Gas

by Michael Levi

The Associated Press reported last week that U.S. greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emissions have dropped to a twenty-year low on the back of abundant natural gas. “The question,” it correctly observed, “is whether the shift is just one bright spot in a big, gloomy [climate change] picture, or a potentially larger trend.” Read more »

Why Allowing Natural Gas Exports Is Probably Good for Climate Change

by Michael Levi

I argued in a New York Times op-ed yesterday that the United States should allow LNG exports while guarding against downside risks to the local environment and low-income consumers. Joe Romm at the Center for American Progress has now published a 1,100-word attack on the piece. I’d normally not respond at length, but his critique hits on multiple fronts, and our two blogs have many readers in common. This post will go line-by-line through his critique and explain why it’s wrong. Read more »

Rebutting the IECA Attack on My Natural Gas Exports Study

by Michael Levi

Last month, The Hamilton Project published my in-depth study assessing the costs and benefits of allowing U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. Earlier this week, the IECA, a trade association that lobbies for large industrial consumers of natural gas, hit back hard in a four-page letter attacking the study. I gather from several journalists’ enquiries that the letter, which identifies seven specific points of disagreement, is making the rounds. This post will explain, point-by-point, why the IECA letter is wrong, and then offer some summary observations. Read more »

The Odd Politics of Drilling on Public Lands

by Michael Levi

I’m in Ohio this week talking to people about the Utica shale boom. I’ll have more to say later, but right now, I want to share an interesting bit of one conversation I had yesterday.

I was talking to a dairy farmer who is adamant that his community should not be allowed to stop him from leasing his land to gas drillers. He treated me to an impassioned defense of private property rights, and warned against infringing on peoples’ freedom to contract. Read more »

Think Again: The American Energy Boom

by Michael Levi

I have a new essay in the July/August issue of Foreign Policy, out today, that takes aim at some of the emerging conventional wisdom surrounding the American oil and gas boom. Some of the themes will be familiar to readers of this blog. Others will be new. Collectively, I hope, they’ll spur some new thinking about what’s happening in the United States. Read more »

New Study on U.S. Natural Gas Exports

by Michael Levi

Booming U.S. shale gas production has prompted a series of firms to apply for permission to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States. This prospect has become controversial: some see an opportunity to gain from trade and to shake up global gas markets; others fear environmental damage, higher consumer costs, and lost manufacturing competitiveness. Read more »

Safe Fracking Looks Cheap

by Michael Levi

The public battle over fracking tends to emphasize extremes: some say that shale gas can’t be developed safely; others say that new regulation would kill the industry. But a third set of observers (myself included) has claimed that smart new rules would boost costs only marginally, while building public acceptance for drilling. A new study from the International Energy Agency (IEA) adds serious support to this middle way. Read more »