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Study: Gas from ‘fracking’ worse than coal on climate

April 11, 2011

“The Hill,” an influential Capitol Hill news outlet, is running a story on the findings of Cornell University’s research team, Professors Howarth, Santoro, and Ingraffea, stating that shale gas drilling may be as much as twice as bad as coal for climate in the twenty year time frame.  It’s an explosive study about an explosive gas.

Excerpts from The Hill article “Study: Gas from ‘fracking’ worse than coal on climate“:

“Cornell University professors will soon publish research that concludes natural gas produced with a drilling method called ‘hydraulic fracturing’ contributes to global warming as much as coal, or even more.”

“The conclusion is explosive because natural gas enjoys broad political support – including White House backing – due to its domestic abundance and lower carbon dioxide emissions when burned than other fossil fuels.”

“Cornell Prof. Robert Howarth, however, argues that development of gas from shale rock formations produced through hydraulic fracturing – dubbed “fracking” – brings far more methane emissions than conventional gas production.”

Cornell University's Robert Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology


“ ‘The [greenhouse gas] 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,’ states the upcoming study from Howarth, who is a professor of ecology and environmental biology, and other Cornell researchers.”

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