FACT CHECK: Is Natural Gas Worse Than Coal, Like Mayor Bloomberg Says?

CLAIM: Former New York City Mayor Bloomberg, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, said the threat posed by natural gas “is going to be worse than coal.”






We suspect Bloomberg knows his claim is false, as he once said natural gas is a “godsend” for replacing coal.

He was right then. How right?

In July, the U.S. Energy Information Administration issued a forecast that concluded: “EIA’s July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecasts a 2.2% decrease in CO2 emissions for 2019. Nearly all of the forecast decrease is due to fewer emissions from coal consumption. Forecast natural gas CO2 emissions increase and petroleum CO2 emissions remain virtually unchanged.”

A report commissioned by the Natural Gas Supply Association found “Over the past decade, there has been a significant reduction in the carbon intensity of the national electric supply, due in large part to an increase in gas-fired generation and a decrease in coal- fired generation. Similarly, despite the absence of a comprehensive national carbon policy or defined emission limits, emissions from the U.S. power sector have declined almost 20 percent since 2005, primarily driven by the shift to natural gas.”

The report concluded, “While natural gas produces some carbon emissions, these emissions are much lower than that released from even the newest and most advanced coal fired plant.”

Additionally, a 2014 study by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded: “This analysis has determined that the use of U.S. LNG exports for power production in European and Asian markets will not increase (greenhouse gas) emissions, on a life cycle perspective, when compared to regional coal extraction and consumption for power production.”

As we have noted previously, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates need to focus on realistic, achievable and pragmatic solutions for our environmental and energy needs. Their proposals need to focus on the long term and ensure they benefit all American consumers.