The greenhouse-gas footprint of hydrofracking
Published On: 5/9/2011
A new study calculates the climate impact of natural gas extraction via ‘hydrofracking.'
The study’s findings include:
Between 3.6-7.9% of the methane escapes into the atmosphere during shale-gas production due to venting and well leaks; this level is at least 30% higher than that released during conventional natural gas production.
On a 20-year time horizon, the greenhouse-gas footprint for shale gas is up to 43% higher than conventional natural gas, 50% greater than oil and 20% higher than coal for the same amount of energy produced by each of those other sources.
The researchers conclude that the “large greenhouse-gas footprint of shale gas undercuts the logic of its use as a bridging fuel over coming decades, if the goal is to reduce global warming.” The study’s authors encourage policymakers to account for the full greenhouse-gas footprint of unconventional gas as they chart the energy future and urge carbon trading markets, which currently have outdated models, to modify their valuations accordingly.
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