- View All
- January 1, 2010 -
has contribution area
has academic priority
has USDA Area
impact statement impact
- Published in the May 2011 issue of Climatic Change Letters (105:5), The resulting research publication this study was the first peer-reviewed paper on methane emissions from shale gas, and one of the few exploring the greenhouse gas footprints of conventional gas drilling, useful in consideration of federal, state and local level legislation concerning natural gas extraction.
impact statement issue
- Extraction of shale gas using hydraulic fracturing technology is expanding at an extremely rapid rate across the United States. The long-term environmental impact of this new technology, however, has not yet been extensively documented.
impact statement response
- This research project analyzed data from published sources, industry reports and even Powerpoint presentations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Gathered data then allowed us to estimate emissions for shale gas, conventional gas, coal (surface-mined and deep-mined) and diesel oil, taking into account direct emissions of CO2 during combustion, indirect emissions of CO2 necessary to develop and use the energy source and methane emissions, which were converted to equivalent value of CO2 for global warming potential.
impact statement summary
- Natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and other shale formations is being promoted as "clean," meaning that is emits fewer greenhouse gasses than other fossil fuels. Our research demonstrates that the opposite is true: The development of shale gas releases methane, a potent heat-trapping gas, into the atmosphere. Given its potency, even small methane emissions can lead to a large greenhouse gas footprint. With regard to global climate change, shale gas is far from "clean"; it is, in fact, worse than any other fossil fuel in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
Other private funding
- Park Foundation
- Howarth, Robert Warren Researcher
- Both Basic Research and Applied Research
- Howarth, Robert Warren David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology