Like coal and oil, natural gas is a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels (which we burn to power transportation, heating & cooling, and electricity) are non-renewable sources of energy formed in the earth over the past millions of years, typically from the remains of marine microorganisms and plants. Sealed off from oxygen and put under ever-increasing amounts of heat and pressure, this organic matter undergoes a thermal breakdown process that ultimately converts it to hydrocarbons.

The lightest of these hydrocarbons occur in a gaseous state known collectively as “natural gas,” which in its pure form is a colorless, odorless gas composed primarily of methane.

Natural gas currently supplies nearly 1/3 of the United States’ primary energy and is the primary heating fuel for approximately half of U.S. households.

Natural gas is a growing energy source — generating less carbon dioxide than coal when burned and cheaper than other fossil fuels.

It has been seen by many as playing a strategic role in the clean energy transition — a means to reduce both local air pollution and coal-associated carbon emissions, a means of quick-ramping dispatchable and reliable power, a plentiful, economically-attractive fuel. However, concerns about methane emissions and the overall carbon budget have called into question the future for gas.

What is natural gas?


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By Hiroko Tabuchi   12/16/19  
The first satellite designed to continuously monitor the planet for methane leaks made a startling discovery last year: A little known gas-well accident at an Ohio fracking site was in fact one of the largest…
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Natural Gas Boom Fizzles as a U.S. Glut Sinks Profits

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FERC creates new liquid natural gas division, Houston office

By Kevin Randolph   07/25/19  
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By Brad Plumer   06/26/19  
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How Democrats came to oppose natural gas

By Amy Harder   06/25/19  
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By Justin Fox   05/24/19  
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Trump Signs Orders to Speed Up Oil and Gas Pipeline Construction

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Con Ed Cuts Off New Gas Hookups in New York Suburb

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Water Use for Fracking Has Skyrocketed, USGS Data Show

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As a concept, hydraulic fracturing has changed very little since the first wells were drilled in the late 1940s. In practice, however, what most people now know as fracking has undergone a transformation.
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Scientists Warn of Quake Risk From Fracking Operations

By Patrick J. Kiger   05/02/14  
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Fracking and Shale Drilling Caused Spike in Climate-Warming Methane Pollution

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Climate-changing pollution reached unprecedented levels in 2018. That's both judged against the last 60 years of modern measurements and against 800,000 years of data culled from ice cores, according to the U.S. government’s State of…
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