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.