Published by Oil Change International.

Endorsed by, Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Clean Virginia, Earthworks, Food & Water Europe, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth Europe, Friends of the Earth U.S., Greenpeace USA, NC WARN, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, New York Communities for Change, Rainforest Action Network, and Sierra Club.

May 2019


Key Findings and Recommendations:

This new report released by Oil Change International makes the case that gas is not a ‘bridge fuel’ to a safe climate. As the global climate crisis intensifies and gas production and consumption soars, it is clearer than ever that gas is not a climate solution. Leaking methane along the gas supply chain has been at the center of the debate around the climate impact of gas, but it’s far from the only issue at stake. There are five additional reasons why gas cannot form a bridge to a clean energy future, even if methane leakage is addressed.

These five points make clear that gas is not clean, not cheap, and not necessary:

  1. Gas Breaks the Carbon Budget: The economically recoverable oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently producing and under-construction extraction projects would take the world far beyond safe climate limits. Further development of untapped gas reserves is inconsistent with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.
  2. Coal-to-Gas Switching Doesn’t Cut It: Climate goals require the energy sector to be decarbonized by mid-century. This means that both coal and gas must be phased out. Replacing coal plants with new gas plants will not cut emissions by nearly enough, even if methane leakage is kept to a minimum.
  3. Low-Cost Renewables Can Displace Coal and Gas: The dramatic and ongoing cost declines for wind and solar disrupt the business model for gas in the power sector. Wind and solar will play an increasing role in replacing retiring fossil fuel capacity.
  4. Gas Is Not Essential for Grid Reliability: Wind and solar require balancing, but gas is not the only, nor the best, resource available for doing so. Battery storage is fast becoming competitive with gas plants designed for this purpose. Managing high levels of wind and solar on the grid requires optimizing a wide range of technologies and solutions, including battery storage, demand response, and transmission. There is no reason to favor gas as the primary solution.
  5. New Gas Infrastructure Locks In Emissions: Multibillion-dollar gas infrastructure built today is designed to operate for decades to come. Given the barriers to closing down infrastructure ahead of its expected economic lifespan, it is critical to stop building new infrastructure, the full lifetime emissions of which will not fit within Paris-aligned carbon budgets.

The myth of gas as a “bridge” to a stable climate does not stand up to scrutiny. While much of the debate to date has focused on methane leakage, the data shows that the greenhouse gas emissions just from burning the gas itself are enough to overshoot climate goals.

There is an urgent need for policymakers and investors to use climate goals as a starting point for energy decisions, particularly when it comes to gas. Rather than searching for ways to justify using the abundant supply that new drilling methods have unleashed, policymakers and investors should consider how much gas is compatible with achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The answer is the same for gas as it is for coal and oil: We need less, not more.



Key Figures: (Download)


  • Finally the truth is out — natural gas was called “clean” energy for decades but never was. During that time, many us were arguing the need for “green” energy which are solar, wind, hydro, run of river, geothermal etc. BUT not gas, coal and nuclear !!!!!

  • Thank you. The science backing this will help dispel the myths perpetuated in our Puget Sound (Salish Sea) in Washington State that it is a bridge fuel, claimed by Puget Sound Energy and perpetuated by the Tacoma City Council, the Port of Tacoma, Tote Shipping and others to unload this dangerous, “natural” i.e. fracked gas on us in a huge refinery and terminal. We have been fighting this for three years.

  • We need to eliminate emissions long before 2050 for civilization to have a reasonable chance at survival.
    Gas is cheap because it’s allowed to do harm. Stop it from doing harm and it won’t be cheap any more.
    Exempting fracking from all relevant environmental laws has harmed people and the rest of nature and should be repealed.
    Leaks should be stopped.
    Doing these 2 things would end the gas industry even faster than it will end without them.

  • Noting wrong with your arguments as a future state. Getting there is the question. the time frame is 20+ years and more like 50′ to replace the existing infrastructure and shift the attitudes. notice the number of 1/2 ton trucks and SUVs that exist because we want space and comfort when we move. Sedans are going out of production.

    Government will not help much because of their short cycle time. Industry will not help either because they are profit motivated to support their share positions. It is up to us to make good choices for our grandchildren. we look at the enemy and the enemy is ourselves.

  • I wish there was a speakers’ bureau available where organizers could tap into local experts able to make a presentation (ideally pro bono) on this report. I’m organizing with the Colorado Renewable Energy Society which has five local speaker series – this would be a prime subject.

  • As a clean energy consultant this information is not new to me ….I agree with most of the findings…
    however …. In the US our energy usage
    is growing and needed for economic
    development and growth… gas is an energy dense fuel compared to solar and
    wind…. and is definitely cleaner than oil and coal… not perfect by any anylisis but
    better… so in order to make a real difference we need the public to realize that it is going to take some dramatic conservation efforts on their part to get to the emissions numbers we need. Solar and wind will take many years to get even close to providing enough energy needed to support our current usage…Higher
    costs of living will result at least for short
    term if we dramatically curtail natural gas transport and development…
    Now… getting the public on board to do the hard lifting needed is going to be very
    difficult. That is the task at hand….
    ….government must immediately take the lead to slow the continued development of fossils fuels and provide serious incentives to home owners and business to reduce power usage ….government must create a program similar to the Manhattan project to hopefully preclude some the disasterous effects of
    climate change. My biggest concern is that we do not have the political will
    to do what is needed soon enough to make a difference..

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