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Bombshell Study Finds Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Production Far Higher Than EPA Estimates
By Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Nov. 25, 2013

A major new study blows up the whole notion of natural gas as a short-term "bridge fuel" to a carbon-free economy.

 no fossil fuels


Fifteen scientists from some of the leading institutions in the world — including Harvard, NOAA and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab — have published a seminal study, “Anthropogenic emissions of methane in the United States.” Crucially, it is based on “comprehensive atmospheric methane observations, extensive spatial datasets, and a high-resolution atmospheric transport model,” rather than the industry-provided numbers EPA uses.

Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4), a potent heat-trapping gas. If, as now seems likely, natural gas production systems leak 2.7% (or more), then gas-fired power loses its near-term advantage over coal and becomes more of a gangplank than a bridge. Worse, without a carbon price, some gas displaces renewable energy, further undercutting any benefit it might have had.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study by Scot Miller et al takes the unusual step of explicitly criticizing the EPA:

"The US EPA recently decreased its CH4 (methane) emission factors for fossil fuel extraction and processing by 25–30% (for 1990–2011), but we find that CH4 data from across North America instead indicate the need for a larger adjustment of the opposite sign."

In other words, natural gas is not a bridge to a carbon-free or climate-safe future. In fact, absent both a serious price for carbon and very strong, enforceable national regulations on leakage, natural gas is a gangplank.

Full article >> http://bit.ly/1euU5JL
More info >> http://nyti.ms/IdwWAf, http://bit.ly/LQNJKF
Original paper >> http://bit.ly/1euU5JL


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