Report Explores Role of Natural Gas in Climate Goals

Press Release
July 1, 2021

Contact: Alec Gerlach,, 703-516-0621 

Report Digs into Temporary Role of Natural Gas in Climate Goals
C2ES Explores Near-Term Climate Action & Natural Gas Use 

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WASHINGTON— With natural gas gaining market share against coal and oil, it will not be eliminated from our electricity-generation or industrial processes any time soon. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) today released a new report, The Role of Natural Gas in the U.S. Energy and Industrial Economy, exploring the path to decarbonization and the temporary role natural gas may play in near-term greenhouse gas reduction strategies. The report details individual emission reduction strategies – fuel-switching, carbon capture applications, and others – and their individual potential for near-term decarbonization.

Read the Report

IEA and IPCC scenarios continue to show a significant role for natural gas, with only modest reductions in consumption, even in highly ambitious scenarios. How can that be? Natural gas has played a significant role in our emission reductions in recent decades – switching from coal to gas – and extracting it entirely from the economy will be costly and take years to complete. A middle path lies ahead which would rely on a steady reduction of our reliance on natural gas, combined with simultaneous efforts to radically improve its performance.

“The key to achieving our energy transition goals will require taking immediate action to cut emissions today, even while we are working on longer-term solutions” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “We need dramatic advances in technology, including negative emissions strategies, bold policy solutions, and an enduring commitment to tackling climate change with ambitious goals for cutting emissions. But we have to also move forward with the solutions we have today – eliminating coal from industrial heat and power generation with fuel switching and deploying technologies like carbon capture can reduce emissions significantly right now.”

The Role of Natural Gas takes stock of the quantity and cost of abatement strategies available and practical now and how immediate action on them could be expected to result in emission reductions.

C2ES breaks down potential emission reduction impacts, represented as “Blocks,” to assess the impact of implementing individual greenhouse gas reduction strategies. These strategies are:

  • Block 1: Renewables cut baseline emissions for natural gas and coal;
  • Block 2: Fuel-switching from coal to natural gas;
  • Block 3: Application of carbon capture to power plants;
  • Block 4: Carbon capture applied to industrial emission sources; and
  • Block 5: Fuel switching to cleaner fuels for industrial emissions, primarily hydrogen and ammonia

The report also found “blue hydrogen” is an important advance in its own right, but that an equally important role is to jumpstart development of the transportation and distribution of hydrogen generally, paving the way for large-scale production, distribution, and consumption of “green hydrogen.”


About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at