NY Times on Gas vs. Coal

Kevin Maloney for the NYT

Just when we were discussing the same topic…

here’s a link to a NY Times story

But the cleanliness of natural gas is largely based on its lower carbon dioxide emissions when burned. It emits roughly half the amount of carbon dioxide as coal and about 30 percent that of oil.

Less clear, largely because no one has bothered to look, are the emissions over its entire production life cycle — that is, from the moment a well is plumbed to the point at which the gas is used.

Methane leaks have long been a concern because while methane dissipates in the atmosphere more quickly than carbon dioxide, it is far more efficient at trapping heat. Recent evidence has suggested that the amount of leakage has been underestimated. A report in January by the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica, for example, noted that the Environmental Protection Agency had recently doubled its estimates for the amount of methane that is vented or lost from natural gas distribution lines.

Note that the SAF scientist letter mentioned in this post did mention methane associated with natural gas and coal.

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