GHG Howarth update on footprint of gas vs coal — Jan 2011

GHG update for web — Jan 2011 (2).pdf (application/pdf Object).

Assessment of the Greenhouse Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations
Obtained by High-Volume, Slick-Water Hydraulic Fracturing

Robert W. Howarth
David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology & Environmental Biology, Cornell University
(Revised January 26, 2011)
Natural gas is widely advertised and promoted as a clean burning fuel that produces less greenhouse gas
emissions than coal when burned. While it is true that less carbon dioxide is emitted from burning natural
gas than from burning coal per unit of energy generated, the combustion emissions are only part of story
and the comparison is quite misleading. With funding from the Park Foundation, my colleagues Renee
Santoro, Tony Ingraffea, and I have
assessed the likely footprint from
natural gas in comparison to coal.
We submitted a draft of our work
to a peer-reviewed journal in
November, and now have a revised
manuscript under consideration by
the journal. The revision is
improved with input from
reviewers and also uses new
information from a November 2010
report from the EPA. The EPA
report is the first significant update
by the agency on natural gas
emission factors since 1996, and
concludes that emissions –
particularly for shale gas – are
larger than previously believed.
Our research further supports this

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