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New Research Finds Oil And Gas Development In Gulf South Huge Source Of Carbon Emissions

Pattie Steib
Researchers at the Unvieristy of Texas find that new plants and refineries in Texas and Louisiana will produce as much pollution as 131 coal-fired power plants.

New research finds that oil and gas development in the gulf south will greatly increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers from the University of Texas looked at existing – and planned – oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure in Louisiana and Texas.

As the country turns away from heavily-polluting coal fired power plants and towards natural gas, the region has seen huge investments in LNG production.

But the researchers found that all of the new plants and refineries will produce as much pollution as 131 coal-fired power plants.

Economic professor, Andrew Waxman, says that would amount to about eight percent of the nation’s total emissions, once built. He says that suggests that, “These are emissions that are occuring as these industries are growing, and our hope is that future work will consider the tradeoffs between coal plant retirement and increase in natural gas.”

The paper was published in Environmental Research Letters. Researchers say a follow-up report will explore solutions, like carbon sequestration or new technologies to cut emissions.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and local listeners.

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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