The oil and gas industry and even President Obama have been misguided in their support of natural gas as a bridge fuel to a renewable energy future. Despite the fact that when natural gas is burned, it emits half of the carbon dioxide of coal, natural gas that is leaked during the fracking process from wells, pipelines, compressors and processing units eviscerates any advantage that gas might have over coal. Methane, the primary component of natural gas is 20 to 25 more times heat trapping than carbon dioxide.
Recent scientific studies have found that the rate at which methane is leaking into the atmosphere from natural gas instalations is much higher than we thought. Measurements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at gas and oil fields in California, Colorado and Utah found leakage rates of 2.3 percent to 17 percent of annual production. Scientists from the University of Colorado who conducted the test in Utah said, “We expected methane emissions would be detectable, but we did not anticipate levels as high as what we observed.” Instead of a bridge fuel to renewables, fracking is a “Gangplank for a Warming Planet”.
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