UPDATE: The Cornell paper is now available in final, published format here: “Methane and the greenhouse-gas emissions footprint of natural gas from shale formations.”
I’ve written before on my doubts on the current push for natural gas drilling in the United States with hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
But now there’s even research from Cornell University that will soon be published that concludes natural gas produced with this drilling method contributes to global warming as much as coal, or even more. This because far more methane is emitted during drilling with fracking than from more conventional gas production.
Enough to negate the carbon advantage that gas has over coal and oil when they’re burned for energy, because methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. It is in fact 20 times stronger than CO2 in it’s ability to trap heat in our atmosphere.
I already was very critical and sceptical about using fracking due to the environmental damage it causes and the negative health effects it has on inhabitants. But now with the combined punch of the release of this extra methane, I’m no longer in favour of using this for any large scale production.