Friday, September 9, 2011

Switching To Natural Gas will Not Slow Global Warming

From "No big climate gain in switching from coal to natural gas" on ScienceBlog, September 9, 2011:
Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study appears this week in the Springer journal Climatic Change Letters.

Tom Wigley, a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), underscores in his study the complex and sometimes conflicting ways in which fossil fuel burning affects Earth’s climate. While coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it also releases comparatively large amounts of sulfates and other particles that, although detrimental to the environment, cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight.

The situation is further complicated by uncertainty over the amount of methane that leaks from natural gas operations. Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas.
Read the complete article here.

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