As regulators struggle to bring greenhouse gas emissions under the state\u2019s climate protection law from out-of-state coal power plants that serve California, a new problem lies on the horizon: liquefied natural gas. Like the coal-fired power that California imports from Utah, New Mexico, and other Western states, natural gas presents a similar problem because the associated emissions don\u2019t begin and end within state boundaries. Instead, they stem both from burning gas in state and producing and transporting it in upstream locations, which are overwhelmingly out of state. Now, the anticipated arrival of liquefied natural gas for California when Sempra Energy\u2019s Baja California import terminal opens early next year is about to change California\u2019s natural gas lifecycle emissions picture. That\u2019s because--unlike today\u2019s coal power plants and domestic gas fields where greenhouse gas emissions are likely to stay relatively stable per unit of output--LNG is expected to increase emissions attributable to natural gas use in California. A study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers published in the July 25 edition of Environmental Science & Technology shows that the lifecycle emissions of liquefied natural gas are closer to those of conventional pulverized coal power plants that keep California\u2019s compact fluorescent bulbs burning brightly. So as California and the nation increasingly turn to liquefied natural gas to meet their energy needs, greenhouse gas emissions attributable to natural gas use can be expected to rise. Here\u2019s the comparative data developed by the researchers. Based on a series of assumptions outlined in the paper, the researchers concluded that average life cycle carbon dioxide emissions from a conventional coal plant--which takes into account the mining, transport, and burning of the coal--total 2,270 lb\/MWh. Life cycle emissions from today\u2019s domestic natural gas when burned in a power plant total 1,250 lb\/MWh on average. For liquefied natural gas, the life cycle emissions total 1,600 lb\/MWh on average, a 28 percent increase over today\u2019s domestic natural gas. Extrapolating from an Energy Information Administration projection that 16 percent of the nation\u2019s natural gas will be in the form of LNG by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 4.5 percent from total natural gas usage in California. The increase stems from the three added steps in bringing LNG to market, the researchers said, including the energy used to liquefy it, the energy used to re-gasify it before putting it into the pipeline, and the longer distances over which LNG typically is transported than domestic gas. Liquefied natural gas, the study found, increasingly will come from Asia and the Middle East. LNG carrier ships can be expected to travel as far as 11,700 miles before landing the gas at a liquefied natural gas terminal. For California, the increase will come at a time when the state is struggling to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Liquefied natural gas will place an added burden on regulators and the regulated community as they look for ways to make up for the increase it will cause in greenhouse gas emissions, that is, unless regulators simply look the other way.