Understanding Updates to the EPA Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Natural Gas Systems

Climate change is a defining challenge across the globe, and natural gas, natural gas utilities, and the delivery infrastructure are essential to meeting our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, including pathways to achieve net-zero emissions.

Natural gas is a fuel of choice for consumers because of its low cost, efficient end uses, and environmental attributes. Natural gas is a domestically produced and abundant energy source that presents the U.S. with an opportunity to address our energy, economic, and environmental objectives while serving as a foundational fuel for the U.S. economy for years to come. This potential has focused public attention on the environmental footprint of energy production, transportation, distribution, and end- use.

Efficient natural gas technologies serve as low-cost, low-emission options for building energy needs, home comfort, industrial processes, and electricity generation. Natural gas is a low-carbon fuel relative to coal and oil, resulting in less carbon dioxide (CO2) for the same amount of valuable energy. A better understanding of methane (CH4) emissions released from production and delivery systems will further clarify how using natural gas may deliver greater environmental benefits.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made further updates to its estimates of CH4  emissions in its Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2020 (Inventory), released in April 2022. The Inventory incorporates new data from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions studies and the

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). The updated Inventory includes a new post-meter segment within the natural gas systems category incorporating emissions of CH4 leaks from residential and commercial appliances, industrial facilities and powerplants, and natural gas-fueled vehicles.

Read the full report here.