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Friday, April 5, 2013

New Study Suggests Again That Natural Gas is as Damaging as Coal to Climate

UPDATE:  Well, it didn't come from Energy in Depth, but a counterargument to the EcoWatch report is here.

From The Energy Collective:
Gas is leaking from pipes beneath New York City and Bill McKibben has confidently informed us that this is simply more evidence that the climate benefits of shale gas are much worse than many claim. Unfortunately the only real message from the article is that Bill McKibben is rather selective about evidence when it comes to fracking and that his apparent willingness to “do the math” on climate change does not transfer over very well to the rather important question of where we get our energy from.
I’ll begin by tersely summarizing the report (which as McKibben notes was funded by an anti-fracking group). Essentially the gas pipes under New York city are old, and apparently leaking methane. This supposedly means that some of the claimed emissions reductions from shale gas are not happening. Leaking methane means the emissions are not being saved.
So, what do New York’s old and leaky pipes have to do with the claimed emissions reductions due to shale gas? Precisely zero. Here’s why.
Read the rest here.

ORIGINAL POST:

From EcoWatch:
The preliminary report indicates Manhattan sits in a cloud of elevated levels of methane. The extended report reviews existing estimates and estimating procedures of methane emissions by industry, government and other sources (including the Environmental Protection Agency/Gas Research Institute 1996 method). Based on those reviews DCS concludes that those estimates are so inaccurate as to be almost useless—in fact, misleading.
The actual measurements in this report, added to measured production losses and estimated transmission losses, shows a total gas loss above five percent. This number is well above the critical benchmark level of less than 3.2 percent, at which level natural gas no longer retains an advantage over other forms of fossil fuels with regard to climate change. Since natural gas is 93 percent methane, and methane is more than 20 times more potent a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) than CO2, the level of leakage shows natural gas should not be considered a “bridge fuel.”
“The methane leakage in the system serving NYC through ConEd is likely already at a level where the methane leaked has as much, or more, climate impact as the remaining approximately 95 percent of the gas that is actually usefully burned by consumers in NYC,” said Dr. Bryce Payne, one of the authors of the Gas Safety, Inc. study.
Read the whole article here.  

And stay tuned for Energy in Depth's article picking apart the study in 5...4...3...2.......

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