A New York Times article reports that natural gas - the energy source being touted as the solution to weaning the U.S. off dirtier fossil fuels and reduce global warming - is not as green or as clean as its proponents think.
The research to support this claim, which Cornell University professors will soon publish, has also made headlines in the Huffington Post as well as in the Congressional newspaper The Hill. It suggests that the rush to develop the nation's vast, unconventional sources of natural gas is logistically impractical and likely to do more to heat up the planet than mining and burning coal.
The problem, the studies suggest, is that planet-warming methane, the chief component of natural gas, is escaping into the atmosphere in far larger quantities than previously thought, with as much as 7.9 percent of it puffing out from shale gas wells during the fracking process, intentionally vented or flared, or seeping from loose pipe fittings along gas distribution lines.
This news is certain to rattle policymakers in Washington who have promoted gas as a solution to our energy crisis. The Huffington Post calls it a "game changer" and suggests that "the White House and members of Congress must read this important study and immediately reconsider the emphasis on relying on gas for our energy needs. It is time to leave all of the dirty fossil fuels firmly behind us, and focus on the transition to real clean energy sources."
Read more about this explosive study. View The New York Times article, The Hill article, and the Huffington Post article.