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Friday, October 25, 2013

Cornell Professors Have Differing Views on Landmark Methane Study

From Energy in Depth:
Is science a method toward improved understanding or merely a means toward an activist end?
Last month, researchers from the University of Texas – in coordination with the Environmental Defense Fund and participants from industry – released a bombshell study on methane emissions from natural gas production. The findings suggested a leakage rate in line with EPA’s estimate, or roughly 1.5 percent. The study was widely acknowledged as good news, which is also why activist opponents of shale immediately tried to marginalize it with their typical talking points.
One of those activists was Tony Ingraffea, the Cornell professor who co-authored an infamous2011 study on the same topic that used many unwarranted assumptions in order to arrive at a high methane leakage rate for shale gas development. Indeed, the assumptions were so bad they seemed consciously misleading.  Ingraffea’s response to the EDF study (which he blasted out to the press a few minutes before the embargo was lifted on the study) was a cornucopia of misleading theories, scripted talking points, and outright science denial.
Interestingly, that arm-flailing response put Ingraffea at odds with another prominent academic: Robert Howarth, who co-authored the 2011 Cornell study with Ingraffea. Howarth labeled the UT study’s findings as “good news,” and even said the researchers did a “fine job” of studying emissions. Although he was by no means completely sold on a low emissions profile, Howarth even admitted that if emissions were kept below a certain point, his concern about shale would be tempered.
Let’s take a look at how these two Cornell professors responded to the study, in their own words:
Read the rest of the article by clicking here. 

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