Natural gas in the United States in 2016: Problem child and poster child

People protest against fracking and neighborhood oil drilling in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 14, 2016.What do Americans think about U.S. natural gas? 

The answer depends on who you ask. Presidential candidates, Washington think tank analysts, and ordinary citizens all give widely different answers to that question. In the United States, natural gas is sure to play an important role in the energy mix for the foreseeable future and has yielded several major economic, environmental, and health benefits in the short- and medium-term. Despite this, the image of natural gas has deteriorated in recent years, particularly within the environmental community. 

In a new policy brief, “Natural gas in the United States in 2016: Problem child and poster child,” Tim Boersma discusses the various sentiments surrounding the debate over natural gas, analyzing the data supporting or refuting these varied points of view. Additionally, Boersma discusses the role that natural gas can play as a bridge fuel to a low-carbon economy, outlining a policy and research agenda for the utilization of natural gas going forward.