|Sent on:||Tuesday, May 27, 2014 7:02 AM|
Turns out that just about everyone (including President Obama) has been hugely underestimating the methane pollution levels of so-called “clean gas.” The booming American economy now seems to come at a greater cost than we originally thought when we found out that natural gas produces only half as much carbon as coal.
A couple of years ago, natural gas produced through expensive hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) sounded like a great way to clear the air and forestall climate change, eh? Not really. Scientists have recently found that drilling-produced methane (up to 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over time) creates an even thicker blanket in the atmosphere than the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. In simple terms, it basically creates a tighter greenhouse.
On Monday night, the cable TV series “Years of Living Dangerously” ripped the covers off the idea that the methane produced from fracking wells is inconsequential. America Ferrera (TV’s “Ugly Betty”) spoke about a new study—just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—that looked into drilling operations at several wells in southwestern Pennsylvania. The researchers found that these wells released methane into the atmosphere at rates that were hundreds of times greater than estimates made by EPA regulators.