Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

Fracking Won’t Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

American Chemical Society: A new study  finds that “abundant shale gas by itself will neither slow nor accelerate the current rate of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Earlier studies on the effects of this production jump have either done so by comparing emissions from shale gas to those from other fuels or predicting the impacts of a flood of shale gas on energy markets. Last year, Richard G. Newell and Daniel Raimi, energy economists at Duke University, decided to do both.”

“The analysis suggests that by 2040, cheap, abundant shale gas will displace more coal than renewables and nuclear power for electricity, cutting emissions from electricity-generation by 5.1%. However, energy use in general will rise, causing total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to drop by only 0.3% from the baseline scenario. High methane emissions could inflate total emissions by a modest several tenths of a percent.”

Newell: “Natural gas abundance alone has no impact on greenhouse gases.”

“’If we had a carbon policy in place, economic forces would be operating in concert to back out of carbon-intensive sources of energy and to reduce the total amount of energy used, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions,’ says Hillard Huntington, an energy economist at Stanford University.”

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