Monday, September 19, 2011

A Switch From Coal To Natural Gas Won't Help The Climate: Study

"Natural gas might burn much cleaner than coal, but getting it has its problems: leaky pipes. And those leaks spray gasses that are worse for the climate than carbon."  Natural Gas is widely thought to be better than coal, even though it's a fossil fuel.  As a fossil fuel burning natural gas releases carbon into the atmosphere which had been sequestered eons ago.  This increase of carbon in the ecosphere is bad for climate change.  But burning natural gas causes fewer side effects than coal (look up the constituents of fly ash sometime) and has smaller greenhouse gas effects.

The problem is leaky pipes.  Natural gas and methane are essentially the same thing.  A difference between natural gas and methane is that natural gas was formed over eons of time underground, whereas methane is simply the byproduct of decomposition of current organic matter in places like swamps or peat bogs or landfills or even cows (cow farts are a source of greenhouse gas causing methane).  Both natural gas and methane are potent greenhouse gasses; more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

According to a computer simulation study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a partial global shift from coal to natural gas would still accelerate climate change through 2050 without methane leaks.

 

Source: A Switch From Coal To Natural Gas Won't Help The Climate: Study


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