EPA Analysis: Emissions Higher than previously Estimated

by admin on January 26, 2011

Based upon a new EPA analysis, gas may not be as clean as previously predicted.  The  new analysis doubles its previous estimates for the amount of methane gas that leaks from loose pipe fittings and is vented from gas wells.  When all these emissions are counted, gas may be as little as 25 % cleaner than coal, or perhaps even less.  Based upon previous estimates, gas was believed to be 50% cleaner than coal.  Estimated emissions from horizontal  hydraulic fracturing being used in Marcellus are almost 9,000 times higher than the EPA had previously calculated. There is concern, given that methane is a potent greenhouse gas, that the full impact of reliance on gas as a transition fuel to carbonless energy sources has not been identified and that the benefits of gas have been overstated.

“What if, with revelations around methane emissions, it turns out to be only a 10 or 20 percent reduction of carbon from coal? If that’s true,” he said, “gas is not the panacea” said James Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy.  Rogers worries that a blind jump to gas could leave the country dependent on yet another fossil resource, without stemming the rate of climate change.  Propublica story by Abrahm Lustgarten

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Nicole January 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm

You can download the EPA study at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads10/Subpart-W_TSD.pdf

Check out the emissions charts on pages 8-10.


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