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Switching To Natural Gas Won’t Prevent Climate Change

Switching To Natural Gas Won’t Prevent Climate Change


Contrary to gas company claims, a new study found that ditching coal for natural gas won’t have a noticeable affect on climate change.

Although coal produces more global-warming gas per unit of energy than natural gas, extraction of the latter releases untold amounts of methane into the atmosphere. And methane is a potent greenhouse gas with far more heat-trapping potential than carbon dioxide.

In fact, cutting worldwide coal burning by half and using natural gas instead would actually increase global temperatures over the next four decades by about one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, according to Tom Wigley, a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Wigley goes on to state that even if the natural gas industry found a way to prevent every last methane leak (an impossible feat), world populations would have to wait until about 2050 before there was any noticeable decrease in global temperature. And if methane leaks continued unchecked, the global warming trend will last until 2140.

And that’s not even the worse part.

Today, most natural gas is extracted through a process called hydraulic fracturing, whereby a soup of highly toxic chemicals, sand and water is forced underground to blast open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well. This process contaminates underground water supplies and in many cases results in flammable (read: undrinkable) tap water.

Oh yeah, and hydraulic fracturing greatly increases methane leakage during extraction.

Once again we see that, no matter how the industry tries to spin it, fossil fuels will never be the answer to a clean and secure energy future. It’s time to stop spending our time and money making excuses for a dying industry.

It’s time to embrace the promise of renewable energy technology by using federal dollars to increase research, development and work force training so that our children will know the pleasure of other seasons besides HOT.

Related Reading:

Climate Change Denial Research Funded By Big Oil

France Becomes First Nation To Ban Fracking

Big Coal Vs. Nature And History

Source: LA Times

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Image Credit: Flickr - stevendepolo

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10:17AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Thanks for the information.

7:11PM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

Thanks for posting.

6:02PM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

@ Jim G. Big Oil, Big Coal & Big Gas would try to stop it and if they couldn't would buy it out and delete it.

3:04PM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

Someone here stated that all combustion produces carbon emissions in the form of C02. This statement is incorrect. The combustion of hydrogen gas with oxygen produces water. Or 2H(2)+O(2)->2H(2)O. The reverse reaction occurs through electrolysis. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Basically an endless source of energy. So, if a combustible fuel source must be used as a backup to solar and wind energy, then why not hydrogen.

11:24AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011


10:17AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

Thank you

9:16AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

All of the original sewage plants in the USA produced alcohol. This alcohol was used to power government vehicles. The practice was abandoned because oil was dirt cheap. One of the most important benefits of the horseless carriage was clean air (apposed to horse droppings in the large cities). The stench at the NYC ports was unbearable, but it was just a huge bunch of horses***.

8:52AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

First of all we have to take in consideration possibilities of explioting the resources for production of biogas ! So this part of methane, which is now realised into atmosphere, could be used as the fuel. the ammount of methane derivated from manure is not a small one ! On the contrary. The total number of cattle in Europe is now 10-times bigger than number of actle before II World War.

8:03AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

Due to over population man is making a huge impact on the planet. Many contributors on this forum simply say 'all fossil fuel is bad' and that its use must be stopped. This is not a solution that can be immediately implemented. This simpleton version of a cure is 'stupid', impractical, and unworkable. Most people would like a means to preserve their food (refrig), drive their auto, and maintain their homes and jobs. A practical solution is to minimize the risks of 'natural gas' and use it as a transitional fuel while new 'clean' technologies are being developed. Every US citizen must do all they can to minimize their use of energy while this transition is taking place. 'Ask not what fossil fuels can do for you, but ask what you can do about using less fossil fuels'. Quit blaming oil companies and use less energy. The oil companies are not the problem, you are the problem, you create the demand.

7:41AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

The fracking will poison our drinking water natural gas is no natural solution.

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