Natural Gas May Be Worse for the Planet than Coal

If not worse then just as bad.

A lot of energy has been expended to try to make natural gas look “green”. In fact many “green” groups and others are touting it as the “bridge fuel to a 21st-century energy economy” and claim that it is “cleaner” than coal. Well, it turns out that it may not be so “green” after-all.

When you consider that natural gas is composed primarily of methane and that leaks are common it doesn’t look so good. Methane traps 21 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2.  Is it worse than coal, maybe or maybe not, but it isn’t “green” and it is responsible for devastating much of southwest Wyoming and parts of Colorado.

Natural Gas May Be Worse for the Planet than Coal
A preliminary analysis suggests that natural gas could contribute far more to global warming than previously thought.
By Kevin Bullis



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  1. Virginia Avatar

    T. Boone Pickens has been all over the television promoting natural gas as the new “clean energy.” I wonder how successful his campaign has been. He hasn’t convinced me yet.

  2. Alan Gregory Avatar

    And it’s not just Wyoming and Colorado that are being drilled more for natural gas. Here in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the big push is on for drilling in the Marcellus shale formation, which underlies much of Pa., southern New York State, and much of W.Va. and Maryland. Just yesterday, a worker at a drill site in N.E. Pa. died from a work injury and people’s homes have been evacuated due to leaking gas issues. Additionally, headwater streams home to dwindling native brook trout are being raided by drilling companies, some of which are based in Texas.
    Read more

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Hardly anyone looks at the total effects of any energy system. They usually tend to concentrate on the characteristics of the refined fuel delivered to the business, home, or factory.

    People should worry a lot about this methane ice or slush that clogged the dome they tried to put over the oil fountain. It is natural gas frozen with water under pressure. Bring it to the surface or cause a disturbance that will make it rise to the surface, and it will quickly evaporate into natural gas vapor. There will be an incredible outpouring of free natural gas. It will be explosive and if over a large enough area far more climate changing than carbon dioxide.

  4. Kropotkin Man Avatar
    Kropotkin Man

    Think cradle to grave.

    Remember the laws of thermodynamics.

    Entropy Rules!

    Check your fly.

    Words to live by!


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole