Not All Cornell Scientists Agree
Submitted by admin on Wed, 01/11/2012 - 20:38
Our Frack-enstein piece, which is linked over there to your left, contains a section about the Howarth/Santoro/Ingraffea study published last spring which asserted that natural gas has a severe impact on greenhouse gasses (GHGs). This study has been rebutted several times (full disclosure—sometimes supported as well, at least according to Dr. Don Siegel of Syracuse University), most recently by Cornell colleagues Lawrence M. Cathles III, Larry Brown, Milton Taam, and Andrew Hunter:
...in their recent publication in Climatic Change Letters, Howarth et al. (2011) report that their life-cycle evaluation of shale gas drilling suggests that shale gas has a larger GHG footprint than coal and that this larger footprint “undercuts the logic of its use as a bridging fuel over the coming decades”. We argue here that their analysis is seriously flawed in that they significantly overestimate the fugitive emissions associated with unconventional gas extraction, undervalue the contribution of “green technologies” to reducing those emissions to a level approaching that of conventional gas, base their comparison between gas and coal on heat rather than electricity generation (almost the sole use of coal), and assume a time interval over which to compute the relative climate impact of gas compared to coal that does not capture the contrast between the long residence time of CO2 and the short residence time of methane in the atmosphere...