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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 01:13 PM
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Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated
I've been using the figure that Natural Gas is "only" 55% as carbonizing as Coal. I may be off by, oh, 40% -- 40% low.
Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated
Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated

The United States is poised to bet its energy future on natural gas as a clean, plentiful fuel that can supplant coal and oil. But new research by the Environmental Protection Agencyand a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full life cycle of gas productionis casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change.

Advocates for natural gas routinely assert that it produces 50 percent less greenhouse gases than coal and is a significant step toward a greener energy future. But those assumptions are based on emissions from the tailpipe or smokestack and dont account for the methane and other pollution emitted when gas is extracted and piped to power plants and other customers.

The EPAs new analysis doubles its previous estimates for the amount of methane gas that leaks from loose pipe fittings and is vented from gas wells, drastically changing the picture of the nations emissions that the agency painted as recently as April. Calculations for some gas-field emissions jumped by several hundred percent. Methane levels from the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas were 9,000 times higher than previously reported.

When all these emissions are counted, gas may be as little as 25 percent cleaner than coal, or perhaps even less.

...

Complete story at Pro Publica. Includes refernce material and EPA links.


My fear and prediction: that it will be Natural Gas that replaces coal and petroleum, or at least get a two-decade "trial run", while half the country's crustal shale is subjected to hydraulic and chemical fracturing.

--d!
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 01:18 PM
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1. While the environmental costs are vastly understated. nt
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 01:20 PM
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2. I think your prediction is plausible.
NG is in the devil's sweet spot. The anti-nukes consider it preferable to splitting atoms. It has the Hey-At-Least-Its-Better-Than-Coal(tm) brand. It's the flagship solution for mitigating the variable output of wind and solar.

It'll win by default.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 01:29 PM
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3. The rush to embrace NG as some kind of enviro-saviour always made me want to go, like,
:wtf: :banghead: :grr: :nuke: :puke:
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 02:15 PM
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4. Heh, and when you consider that we've hit peak conventional natural gas, and that we need to frack..
...to supplant our intermittent renewable resources, you really have to think twice about the disaster that is natural gas.
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Kennah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 05:23 PM
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5. I worry more about the frigging fracking
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 06:08 PM
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6. I'll accept dangerous natural gas when they tell me what they're going to do with the waste.
Not all the wastes. They can keep Amory Lovins and his wife and former wife.
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