31 Jul '13, 3pm

How Significant Is Methane Leakage?

How Significant Is Methane Leakage?

But what if those decreases were only apparent because leakage of methane from gas production, distribution, and use has overinflated the supposed benefits of switching from coal to gas? On average, burning gas rather than coal to make electricity cuts carbon dioxide emissions by about 50 percent; the alleged decline in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions since about 2006 is largely based on that assumption. But methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2—up to two orders of magnitude, or 100-times, more potent. So if there's a lot of methane leakage, the benefits of switching to gas could be nil, and U.S. claims about making big progress in cutting emissions could be wrong.

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/fossil-fuels/h...

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