Natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, but that’s not enough to reduce global carbon emissions, researchers say.
Waste gas is burned off at a hydraulic fracturing site in March near Buttonwillow, Calif. Five research teams found that natural gas alone won’t curb climate change.
Beaver County Blue via US News & World Report
Oct. 15, 2014 – Natural gas won’t save us.
Despite the lofty claims of industry groups and President Barack Obama, the so-called natural gas revolution will not discernibly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, putting the globe no closer to averting catastrophic climate change, according to five independently developed models conducted by teams of researchers around the world and summarized in a new paper Wednesday.
"The high hopes that natural gas will help reduce global warming because of technical superiority to coal turn out to be misguided,” study co-author Nico Bauer, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said in a statement. “The main factor here is that an abundance of natural gas leads to a price drop and expansion of total primary energy supply."
For this very reason, most of the studies projected, widespread natural gas consumption actually will make global warming worse.
“Abundant gas alone will not solve climate change on its own in the absence of climate change mitigation policy,” says economist Haewon McJeon of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who helped lead the American research team. “These five models are very different in its architecture and assumptions. The one thing we agreed on is it’s not going to solve climate change.”