Climate and Health Risks of Liquefied Natural Gas

Dec 09, 2019 | Michelle Shapiro

The years between 2005-2018 witnessed a dramatic rise in “natural” gas (methane) production in the United States, driven by the use of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an extraction process that injects highly pressurized water and chemicals underground to fracture rock formations.

Once fracked, the gas is typically transported and distributed domestically through a vast network of pipelines. However, when the gas is intended for export to another continent, pipelines are not an option. Instead, the gas is liquified and transported in special cryogenic tankers for overseas delivery. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is methane that is filtered (or “purified” to use the industry term) and supercooled to -260° F, turning it from gas to liquid. Liquefaction reduces the gas’s volume by 600 times, making it easier to store and transport in large quantities.

A new white paper from Physicians for Social Responsibility examines LNG’s implications for our environment, health and climate. Read more.


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About Michelle Shapiro

Michelle Shapiro is a communication specialist for the Environmental Health & Disability team at NACCHO.

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