Shale gas potentially ‘huge contributer’ of greenhouse gases

Shale gas contributes much more of the greenhouse gas methane than previously thought, claim US researchers at Cornell University. Their latest study calls into question the view shale gas is […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Shale gas contributes much more of the greenhouse gas methane than previously thought, claim US researchers at Cornell University.

Their latest study calls into question the view shale gas is the solution to climate change as a “bridge fuel” to low carbon energy sources. The USA has seen a boom in shale gas over the last few years.

The study, called’Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas Development’, points to the amount of methane produced by shale gas, which is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Robert W. Howarth, a professor at Cornell University said:”We believe the evidence indicates shale gas has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional gas, considered over any time scale.The greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas also exceeds that of oil or coal when considered at decadal time scales, no matter how the gas is used.”

According to the report, the natural gas industry dominates methane emissions for the US, contributing 39% of the nation’s total.