Johns Hopkins SAIS expert available to discuss the life cycle climate implications of liquefied natural gas trade for electricity generation

While the ultimate magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions associated with natural gas production systems is still unknown, life cycle assessments (LCA) of electricity generation does not only depend on fuel sources. Country-level infrastructure and assumptions about fuel displacement can be particularly influential factors in uncovering the trade-offs between energy choices, according to a new paper co-written by Dr. Sarah Marie Jordaan, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
The new report finds that country-level infrastructure — especially the efficiency of the generation fleet and electric power transmission and distribution losses — are major determinants in the net impact on greenhouse gas emissions from the life cycle of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported for combustion in power plants. Assumptions about the fuel sources displaced in importing countries are critical in understanding the extent of emissions.
“There is a real need to get to the bottom of factors that influence the life cycle emissions of LNG export for electricity generation, for both Canada and the United States,” said Professor Jordaan. “Ensuring this information is available will help all participating countries and businesses understand their roles in reducing emissions.”
The team of researchers — including lead author Dr. Adebola Sadiq Kasumu, a postdoctoral fellow who worked with Professor Jordaan at the University of Calgary — conducted assessments of electricity generated from LNG exports from British Columbia, Canada to determine the net impact on greenhouse gas emissions. While the analysis was specific to Canadian LNG, U.S. exports face the same challenges.
Dr. Kasumu notes the need to improve available Canadian natural gas emissions datasets: “The availability of disaggregated emissions data in the upstream segments of the Canadian natural gas supply chain would make comparison with U.S. emissions data a lot easier.”
Results from the three-step approach highlight how national regulations, environmental policies, and multilateral agreements could play a role in mitigating emissions. 
Professor Jordaan’s research team included Vivian Li, a graduate student from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who also worked with her at the Electric Power Research Institute. The other co-authors included Professor of Law James Coleman from Southern Methodist University and Jeanne Liendo, a graduate student in Political Science at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Jordaan is available to further discuss:

  • What are the relative impacts of different life cycle phases to the emissions of the expanding LNG export industry, when considering both importing and exporting nations?
  • How do life cycle emissions vary by importing countries, due to their natural gas and power infrastructure?
  • What are the most pressing issues that life cycle scholars and policy-makers need to address after uncovering these relative differences?
  • What are the roles that different countries can play in reducing emissions through national policies and multilateral agreements?

Jordaan has worked on the environmental and economic implications of energy systems for over a decade in numerous positions, with contributions aimed at improving science, technology, and policy. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins SAIS, she was an Assistant Professor of Energy Policy and Politics at the University of Calgary. Jordaan managed a year-long project on the environmental and economic implications of shale gas development at the Electric Power Research Institute. She has also held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, as well as positions at Shell Canada and the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego. Jordaan earned her doctorate in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Computer Science from Memorial University.
Read more: Country-level Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Liquefied Natural Gas Trade for Electricity Generation
Media Contact
Stacy A. Anderson
Communications Manager
Johns Hopkins SAIS
202.663.5620 office
202.853.7983 mobile
About Johns Hopkins SAIS
A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For nearly 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school’s interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
For more information, visit or @SAISHopkins

Tuesday, January 23, 2018