New Study Says 'Fracking' Makes Natural Gas Worse for Environment Than Coal

Researchers at Cornell University will soon publish the findings of a new report that paints a dirty picture of natural gas -- often touted as a "clean" energy source. While burning gas may release less CO2 than coal, that doesn't take into account the whole picture when it comes to the climate. By using a process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" natural gas actually contributes more to global warming pollution than coal through the methane released.

The Hill reports:

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.

Enough, he argues, to negate the carbon advantage that gas has over coal and oil when they're burned for energy, because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas.

This is big news because natural gas is often hailed by the Obama Administration and so many others as a clean source of energy. The news also comes at a time when fracking is falling under an enormous amount of scrutiny because of its affects on drinking water, human health and the environment.


AlterNet / By Tara Lohan

Posted at April 11, 2011, 1:29pm

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