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View Diary: Has Climate Hypocrite Governor Jerry Brown Cut A Deal With Chevron? (41 comments)

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  •  CH4 emissions of Nat. Gas outweigh CO2 reduction (0+ / 0-)

    Methane (CH4), the main component of natural gas, is at least 20-30x as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 over a 100 year time frame, and may be over 100x as potent over a 20-year time frame.  The 20 year frame is crucial, because we have less than 20 years to avoid triggering runaway positive feedbacks which will make catastrophic coastal flooding inevitable.

    The first published peer reviewed scientific analysis of  the whole system greenhouse impact of natural gas produced by high volume hydraulic fracking:

    Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations  Howarth et al 2011


    We evaluate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas obtained by high volume hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, focusing on methane emissions.
     Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the lifetime of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured—as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids—and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. Methane contributes substantially to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas on shorter time scales, dominating it on a 20-year time horizon.
     The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.
    The authors note that it is difficult to extract emissions data from the industry.  It might be easier if Cheney's energy bill (written with industry lobbyists in the room and environmentalists locked out) had not exempted gas drilling and fracking from practically all environmental laws.

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Fri May 24, 2013 at 11:50:08 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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