Monday, April 11, 2011

Natural gas not as green as once thought?

A new study released to the NYT shows that the extraction of natural gas may be unexpectedly costly in terms of CO2 emissions. If getting gas from shale results in large emissions, then it won't matter how much more cleanly the gas burns. At the same time, I'm swayed by the industry representative who argues that the amount of emissions described by the author are unrealistic. Of course I know nothing about the technical details, but if indeed so much is lost in the process, the extractors are losing a great deal of money. That seems unlikely. Still, looking at the environmental extraction costs is a gap in the literature that finally has been addressed. One more item on the laundry list of issues to keep track of as the natural gas economy continues to build....

1 comment:

  1. I think that it is interesting that the whole process of retrieving natural gas is not included in its green house gas emissions. The entire life cycle of retrieving natural gas should include every aspect that may harm the environment and add additional green house gases. The fact that there is a discrepancy on this matter, shows that natural gas and its "green" benefits are not being assessed accurately. If tighter fitting pipes are used, there would be a smaller amount of methane released from the shale, making natural gas more green.