16 Apr '11, 4pm

Fracking methane

The Howarth et al paper estimating the climatic impact of shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has provoked a number of responses across the media . Since the issue of natural gas vs. coal or oil, and the specifics of fracking itself are established and growing public issues , most commentary has served to bolster any particular commenter’s prior position on some aspect of this. So far, so unsurprising. However, one aspect of the Howarth study uses work that I’ve been involved in to better estimate the indirect effects of short-lived emissions (including methane, the dominant component of shale gas). Seeing how this specific piece of science is being brought into a policy debate is rather interesting. The basic issue is that for any real economic or industrial activity there are a variety of emissions associated with the life cycle of that activity – fro...

Full article: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/04/fra...

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