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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Day, Another Researcher Arguing Against Cornell Activist/Professor Ingraffea

From The Energy Collective:
As Ingraffea pointed out, while natural gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal per unit of energy, the global warming impact of methane is about 20 times more potent than coal on a 100-year basis. As a result, methane emissions have the potential to erode most or all of the CO2 emissions benefit resulting from coal-to-gas switching. According to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, if methane leakage exceeds 2 percent of total production, the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas could exceed that of coal (scientists at the Environmental Defense Fund estimated that this threshold is actually 3.2 percent, and Lawrence Cathles of Cornell University has suggested that it could be as high as 18 percent).
But the best available studies suggest that leakage rates do not exceed 2 percent. Ingraffea ignored the latest data from the US Environmental Protection Agency, which estimated nationwide fugitive methane emissions at 1.5 percent of natural gas production and indicated that leaks have been on the decline in recent years. A 2012 study published by the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis estimated leakage at 1.3 percent. Our review of estimates of fugitive methane emissions from shale gas production range from 1 percent to 7 percent, with most recent estimates in the 1–to–2 percent range (see graph below). The two leakage studies cited by Ingraffea, which both estimated leakage rates well above 2 percent, are outliers and have been faulted for selective bias and poor measurement and statistical techniques.
Read more, and view the graph referenced in that second paragraph, by clicking here. 

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