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Replacing coal, oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming, expert argues

Date:
July 21, 2014
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
Both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger greenhouse gas footprint than do coal or oil, especially for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating. "While emissions of carbon dioxide are less from natural gas than from coal and oil, methane emissions are far greater. Methane is such a potent greenhouse gas that these emissions make natural gas a dangerous fuel from the standpoint of global warming over the next several decades," said the author of a new article.

Both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger greenhouse gas footprint than do coal or oil, especially for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating.

Dr. Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology, came to this conclusion after assessing the best available data and analyzing greenhouse gas footprints for both methane (including shale gas and conventional gas) and carbon dioxide over a timescale of 20-years following emissions.

The findings are published in Energy Science & Engineering.

"While emissions of carbon dioxide are less from natural gas than from coal and oil, methane emissions are far greater. Methane is such a potent greenhouse gas that these emissions make natural gas a dangerous fuel from the standpoint of global warming over the next several decades," said Dr. Howarth. "Society should wean ourselves from all fossil fuels and not rely on the myth that natural gas is an acceptable bridge fuel to a sustainable future."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert W. Howarth. A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas. Energy Science & Engineering, 2014; 2 (2): 47 DOI: 10.1002/ese3.35

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Replacing coal, oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming, expert argues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721123920.htm>.
Wiley. (2014, July 21). Replacing coal, oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming, expert argues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721123920.htm
Wiley. "Replacing coal, oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming, expert argues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721123920.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

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