Natural gas is mostly methane — a super-potent greenhouse gas that is 100 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide over a 10-year period.
Enough natural gas leaks unburned during drilling, storage and transportation to make burning natural gas for electricity even worse for the climate than burning coal.
A top climatologist and 40 former EPA officials have urged NC Governor Roy Cooper and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to work together to end Duke’s gas expansion and transition quickly to cleaner, cheaper renewables.
Meanwhile the natural gas industry is engaged in a feverish effort to convince the American public and captive federal and state agencies that fracked gas can bring about energy security and climate protection.
Most media play along, still often referring to gas as “clean,” although some outlets are starting to report the whole story.
This is particularly tragic since renewable energy paired with energy storage is now cheaper than gas in some states, with prices still dropping.
This 3-minute video — Dr. Robert Howarth of Cornell University speaking in March 2016 — is an excellent introduction to the climate disaster posed by methane leaking from the natural gas industry. Watch Dr. Howarth’s 28-minute presentation at the COP23 talks in Bonn on Nov. 14, 2017. Read about Dr. Howarth’s latest methane research (2019).
NC WARN and allies are working hard to set the record straight and stop the rush to gas. Check out our NC Climate Emergency Campaign.
In October 2019, top climatologist Drew Shindell and dozens of EPA retirees urged NC Governor Roy Cooper to place a permanent moratorium on new gas infrastructure.
Read the letter & listen to the press conference
Read a September 2020 update
In February 2018, more than 50 national, state and local organizations signed on to a letter urging Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to get on the right side of climate history. Click the image at right to see our newspaper ad with the same message.
Source: James Hansen et al. 2016. Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions.
- Top Scientist Calls for End to Gas Expansion
- May 2019 report: Busting the Gas "Bridge-Fuel" Myth
- Letter to Duke Energy from 50 organizations (Feb. 2018)
- Full-page newspaper ad that accompanied the letter
- Press conference with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
- NASA: gas is biggest culprit in methane spike
- Short-lived climate pollutants are key
- “A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas” (Robert Howarth)
- “Methane emissions and climatic warming risk” (Howarth)
- “The social cost of atmospheric release” (Drew Shindell, Duke University, showing gas is worse than coal for the climate)
- Videos, photos & PowerPoints from our March 2016 gas forums
- NC WARN white paper on risks of gas (2015)
- First letter to Duke Energy (2015)
- Second letter to Duke Energy (2015)
- News release on 2nd letter
- “Everything You Need to Know About Methane” (Earthjustice)
- Americans Against Fracking
Current & Past Campaigns
This 600-mile gas pipeline proposed by Duke and Dominion Energy would have pumped natural gas from West Virginia’s fracking fields to power plants in North Carolina. The project was part of a major shift to make gas “the backbone” of Duke Energy’s future, according to CEO Lynn Good. NC WARN and many other frontline communities and grassroots environmental groups successfully fought the pipeline, which was cancelled on July 5, 2020. We opposed approval of permits for the pipeline and helped to delay construction by filing a Title VI civil rights complaint with the EPA alleging that the NC Department of Environmental Quality discriminated on the basis of race and income level in issuing ACP permits. We exposed the falseness of Duke/Dominion’s claim that the pipeline would bring economic development to the counties along its route and urged Gov. Roy Cooper to cancel the project.
Duke Energy wanted to build a 21-megawatt natural gas-burning power plant on the Duke University campus. Learn more about our opposition to the plan, which resulted in the University putting the project indefinitely on hold.
Duke Energy sought to make Duke University a guinea pig in a US power industry scheme to create new revenue streams by building fracked gas-burning power plants on college campuses.
The EMA campaign (2017) called for a ban on the import and use of fracked natural gas in North Carolina. It included a request to Governor Roy Cooper, a series of educational events and an ad campaign. Learn more here and watch our EMA press conference with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.
Asheville Gas Plant
Together with The Climate Times of Boone, we opposed the new natural gas plant Duke Energy proposed near Asheville. Unfortunately, the NC Utilities Commission approved Duke’s request in February 2016 in a fast-track process that left no time for consideration of the serious concerns raised by our technical experts. We appealed that decision (unsuccessfully) and the Utilities Commission — at the behest of Duke Energy — tried (unsuccessfully) to make us post a $98 million bond in order to appeal.
Media reports and news releases
NC WARN’s NC Utilities Commission filings in this docket
All documents in this docket
Newspaper ad we ran in selected papers in advance of the January 2016 public hearing in Asheville
Mountain Xpress investigative report proving gas for Asheville plant will come from fracking
Duke Energy-Piedmont Natural Gas Merger
The NC Housing Coalition, The Climate Times and NC WARN jointly opposed a merger of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas. The three nonprofits advocated that the NC Utilities Commission fully investigate the costs and impacts on utility customers of the $6 billion merger. Unfortunately, the merger was approved in September 2016.
Read May 2016 press release on our intervention
See our motion to intervene
Read about Duke’s backroom deal with the Utilities Commission
See photos, video and media coverage of our July 18 protest at the Utilities Commission’s merger hearing in Raleigh
In June 2016, NC WARN filed a complaint with EPA’s Inspector General, charging that a high-ranking EPA official connected to the fossil fuel industry committed scientific fraud in a case with sweeping ramifications for global climate change and the safety of workers and neighbors of natural gas sites across much of the United States. We called for an expedited investigation due to the urgent climate and safety implications of the EPA’s failure to curb widespread methane emissions.
A globally prominent expert on methane’s impacts on the climate is urging Governor Roy Cooper and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to lead a cooperative effort for North Carolina to help slow the global climate emergency. In a letter signed by 40 former EPA officials from this state, Dr. Drew Shindell said lessons from the ongoing pandemic and the cancelled Atlantic Coast fracked gas Pipeline (ACP) provide a critically important opportunity to spring forward to a more equitable and economically timely “new normal” while a return to business as usual could be disastrous. SEE ALL Methane, Fracked Gas & Climate POSTS
As a long-awaited hearing begins next Monday, attorneys for NC WARN and allies will firmly oppose Duke Energy’s request for yet another electricity rate hike even as the Utilities Commission’s Public Staff and other parties recently announced settlements with Duke on portions of the rate request.
See coverage by WFAE