The Impact of Natural Gas Prices on Electricity Consumers and the Environment

Coinciding with the recent increase in US natural gas production, the country has seen a 60 percent decrease in the price of natural gas. Lower natural gas prices have affected electricity prices and emissions rates differently across various regions. For example, during this time period, the Texas Reliability Entity experienced one of the largest decreases […]

The Federal Multiagency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research Strategy: What Have We Learned?

The Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently released the long-awaited research strategy on unconventional oil and gas research. Its mandate was to produce timely, policy-relevant research questions that support sound policy decisions and prudent oil and gas development. It also was to “analyze and synthesize the state of […]

Stimulating Shale Gas Development in China: What Lessons to Learn from the US Experience?

China’s pressing need to reduce coal consumption has created a strong demand for the natural gas trapped in its large shale reserves. The Chinese government has already experimented with a number of policies aimed at promoting shale gas development, but building an industry that can successfully utilize these reserves will be difficult. Although the Ministry […]

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Breaking Down the Building Blocks

In the graph below, we explore two important aspects of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. EPA’s state targets for CO2 emissions reductions for existing power plants are in terms of emissions rates—mass of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generation (lb/MWh). An alternative way to measure emissions reductions (and what matters) is mass terms alone (lb […]

Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development Using Innovative Legal and Regulatory Approaches

At the heart of the US shale gas boom is a tense relationship between the desire for its economic benefits and the fear of its environmental costs. Regulatory measures and industry best practices can be adjusted to ease this tension, but the potential for incorporating innovative tools into new measures has been relatively understudied. Both […]

Can Natural Gas Deliver the Goods to Obama’s Carbon Policy?

The success of President Obama’s new plans for reducing carbon emissions from power plants will rest heavily on the natural gas industry. The key building block of that plan is to ramp up the use of natural gas. Before the shale gas revolution natural gas prices were a good deal higher than they are today. But shale […]

Twitter Q&A Roundup: Exploring the Local Impacts of Shale Gas Development

On April 10, RFF hosted a seminar on the benefits and costs of shale gas development as experienced by local communities, titled “Exploring the Local Impacts of Shale Gas Development.” As moderator of that event, I’ll attempt to tackle some of the questions posed by our Twitter audience during the event that we were unable […]

Identifying “Known Unknowns” in the Natural Gas Revolution

Last week, my colleagues and I released a new RFF report, The Natural Gas Revolution: Critical Questions for a Sustainable Energy Future. At one point, I began referring to this document as the “Known Unknowns” report, in reference to a widely quoted Donald Rumsfeld speech. As the former secretary of defense noted, there are certain […]

Russia and Ukraine: The Energy Dimension

Russian incursion into Crimea, potential counter-measures by the United States and other Western countries, and retaliatory Russian responses to such counter-measures have, unsurprisingly, spotlighted the role of energy in the conflict. In the case of oil, Russia, it is accurately noted, is the world’s largest producer and second ranking exporter (behind Saudi Arabia). In the case […]

Misplaced Obsessions

The environmental movement has long been and will remain a crucial engine behind environmental policy, but I believe it really needs to reorient itself toward policies that matter, and in the process give up on its misplaced obsessions. First, environmentalists’ obsession with reducing carbon emissions is NOT misplaced. I am not just worried, but scared […]