From ThinkProgress.org an article about A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found:
that drilling operations at seven well pads emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average, much higher than the EPA-estimated 0.04 grams to 0.30 grams of methane per second.Methane is really, really bad for the climate! Yesterday I went into pretty great detail warning of the dangers of a new Fracking binge in China and the problems methane creates in trying to control the effects of Global Warming. I'm afraid some people may mistakenly believe that Natural Gas is our savior from Climate Change, when it might actually be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
more from the ThinkProgress story.
An analysis of a number of hydraulic fracturing sites in southwestern Pennsylvania has found that methane was being released into the atmosphere at 100 to 1,000 times the rate that the Environmental Protection Agency estimated.Similar fly over studies have been done in Colorado and Utah, and both found more methane leakage then what the EPA is finding, but not to this extent. A speculation might be that the leakage isn't a point source, but might be coming from the ground around the well. Earthquakes have been reported in places like Oklahoma which are linked to fracking, so who knows what's happening to the rock around some of the wells.
The researchers, who were attempting to understand whether airborne measurements of methane aligned with estimates taken at ground level — the method commonly used by the EPA and state regulators
especially during the first 20 years after it enters the atmosphere when it traps around 86 times as much heat as CO2. So even small leaks in the natural gas production and delivery system can have a large climate impact — enough to gut the entire benefit of switching from coal-fired power to gas.
A recent comprehensive Stanford study reviewed over 200 earlier studies to find that “U.S. emissions of methane are considerably higher than official estimates,”
Not only does leaking methane of more than three percent from natural gas production render the fuel no more climate-friendly than coal-fired power plants for some period of time, but it can also be a safety hazard.
Before the world goes over the cliff betting on Natural Gas as the fossil fuel savior of the Climate, we really, really need more definitive science about the impacts from wellhead to customer, that NG production has on the Climate.
When we cross the Alternative Energy economic threshold where ALT-E is cheaper than fossil fuels, we can stop robbing dinosaur graves for our energy and let the sun shine on a new economy. But we need to push our Democratic candidates to stop the incentives to fossil fuels, and start the incentives to save our future.