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New study claims natural gas will not help combat climate change 17.10.14

The Times: Fracking will fail to cut CO2 emissions and could inadvertently increase them

New research in the journal Nature has found that a global switch to natural gas could inadvertently increase carbon emissions as the lower price and abundant supply will trigger increased energy consumption, crowd out competition from cleaner energy sources and increase the risk of methane leaks.

The study, based on computerised projections comparing a future scenario in which natural gas is the main global energy source with an alternative world in which other sources of energy are used, found that CO2 levels could rise if the world switched to natural gas.

The abundance of natural gas could drive cleaner renewable energy sources out of the market while a surplus of natural gas would trigger more energy consumption and greater consumer demand, paradoxically increasing carbon emissions.

Greater reliance on natural gas could also lead to more drilling accidents and burst pipelines leaking methane into the atmosphere, according to the study.

Lead scientist Dr Haewon McJeon from the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) told The Times: “The upshot is that abundant natural gas alone will not rescue us from climate change.”

Read the full study here