25 Jan 2011:
Climate Benefits of Natural Gas
May Be Overstated, U.S. Report Says
A new U.S. study casts doubt on the contention that natural gas delivers significantly cleaner energy
than other fossil fuels. While natural gas advocates have said that it generates 50 percent less greenhouse gases
than coal, that calculation does not include the methane and other pollutants emitted during the extraction of natural gas, according to the analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study finds that the amount of methane that seeps from loose pipe fittings and gas wells is twice earlier estimates, and the emissions released during the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing are 9,000 times higher than previously reported, according to the Web site ProPublica. All told, natural gas may be just 25 percent cleaner than coal, according to the analysis. As U.S. lawmakers tackle a new energy bill, the latest analysis might weaken the political argument in favor of investing billions in natural gas as a cleaner, domestic energy alternative.
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