Thursday, October 16, 2014

Natural gas boom will not slow the effects of climate change, study finds

Increased use of natural gas will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions and could lead to higher CO2 emissions, says a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research published in the journal Nature.

Five teams of experts—from the U.S., Germany, Austria, Italy and Australia—used computer model simulations to project what the world would look like in 2050 with or without the natural gas boom, says the Potsdam Institute. They all came to the same conclusion that natural gas does not reduce climate change.

"Two computer models even found that when considering other factors like methane leaks, cheaper natural gas could lead to more trapping of heat by greenhouse gases, the mechanism that drives global warming," Seth Borenstein reports for The Associated Press."Methane traps even more heat than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide."

Co-author Nico Bauer, of the Potsdam Institute, said that “The additional gas supply boosts its deployment, but the substitution of coal is rather limited, and it might also substitute low-emission renewables and nuclear, according to our calculations. The high hopes that natural gas will help reduce global warming because of technical superiority to coal turn out to be misguided because market effects are dominating. The main factor here is that an abundance of natural gas leads to a price drop and expansion of total primary energy supply.” He said that could lead to an overall increase of energy consumption and higher emissions. (Read more)

No comments: