Methane is Not Clean Energy, Says Clean Energy Coalition

Today, the the Energy We Can’t Afford coalition–which includes, SP350, MN350, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Vote Solar, Environment Minnesota, Community Power, Fresh Energy, Cooperative Energy Futures, and the Sierra Club–launched a public education campaign to inform Minnesotans that so-called “natural gas” is primarily methane, a dirty and dangerous fossil fuel. In addition to public health concerns around processing, transporting, and burning methane, methane released directly into the atmosphere during the extraction and transportation of gas also heats the planet eighty times faster than the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil.

“Don’t let the word ‘natural’ fool you,” said Jessica Tritsch, Senior Campaign Representative at the Sierra Club. “Fossil fuel interests want us to believe that methane, so-called ‘natural gas,’ is a clean energy source. That’s why fossil fuel companies are paying for ads promoting gas stoves and labeling methane power plants as ‘clean energy,’ instead of acknowledging methane for the dangerous greenhouse gas that it is.”

“Minnesotans deserve safe, clean, and reliable energy — and to know the truth about so-called natural gas,” said Jenna Warmuth, Midwest Regional Director at Vote Solar. “Despite large-scale disinformation campaigns from fossil fuel interests, methane is not a clean energy source and has no place in our clean energy future.”

“In order to achieve the level of carbon reductions supported by the latest science and to meet Minnesota’s state-level goals, Minnesotans must move beyond fossil gas where they live and work,” said Joe Dammel, Director of Gas Decarbonization at Fresh Energy. “To support this work, Fresh Energy is collaborating with partners to increase public awareness about the serious health and safety impact of burning fossil gas. We are also working on smart policies and laws that will help end our dependence on fossil gas, reform gas utility regulation, and drive equitable, transformational change in Minnesota.”

“As coal plants retire, overreliance on methane gas for heat and electricity is a growing threat to our climate progress and public health,” said Meghan Hassett, Midwest Clean Energy Advocate for the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Analysis shows that in order to meet emission reduction targets that align with the latest climate science, we must reduce our use of methane gas. In addition to heat-trapping emissions that drive climate change, burning methane gas releases dangerous pollutants that create smog and harm air quality, leading to increases in asthma attacks, lung cancer and premature deaths.”

“A recent report from the International Energy Agency makes clear that gas can not be used in developed countries beyond 2035 – the date by which the power sector must be decarbonized”, said Brett Benson, Deputy Director of MN350. “The implication of this is that there can be no gas plants operating beyond 2035. And since the life of a gas plant typically extends for a minimum of 25 years, Minnesota shouldn’t be investing in new gas plants like NTEC. Our utilities need to pivot rapidly to renewable energy. Energy from sources like wind and solar power, resources we produce right here in our own state, are already cheaper than producing energy from new fossil gas plants.”

“Multiple studies have indicated that wind and solar and energy storage will meet our demand for power, even at peak times of use. Methane gas is 84 times more dangerous for our climate than CO2, and it is no longer necessary. Wind and Solar works!” said Chuck Derry, resident of Clearwater, MN

The public education campaign includes billboards across Minnesota, digital advertising, mailers, and more. To learn more and get involved, visit

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