Australian news, and some related international items

Gas is not transition energy we were promised, new research suggests

Gas is not transition energy we were promised, new research suggests, SMH, By Nick O’Malley, August 24, 2020 — The good news about natural gas is that when it is burnt it creates between 40 and 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than coal would to create the same amount of energy.This is why it has been embraced by some climate activists and governments as a useful energy source to replace coal and oil while renewable energy technologies catch up with global energy demand.

But the good news ends there, and there is a lot more to the story.

Before it is burnt natural gas is mostly made up of methane, and methane is estimated to be about 28 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

Over a 20-year period – about the time scientists believe we have to try to prevent the worst impacts of global warming – it is up to 80 times more potent at warming the planet than carbon dioxide.

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency estimates that for every cubic metre of methane extracted by the US oil and gas industry, 1.4 per cent escapes into the atmosphere as so-called fugitive emissions.

But more recent research suggests this estimate is drastically low, and that, in fact, the industry in the US is leaking 13 million metric tonnes of methane a year, or 2.3 per cent.

It is not yet clear how much fugitive methane is released by the Australian gas industry, but new technologies now allow scientists to accurately measure it and the data is expected to be published in the coming months.

The US Environmental Defence Fund estimated that, in America, if just 3 per cent of methane escapes, gas is no cleaner an energy source than coal…….

August 25, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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