September 15, 2011

Coal to Nat Gas Switch to do Little for Climate Change

Tom Wigley, Climate Change Letters


Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion may be reduced by using natural gas rather than coal to produce energy. Gas produces approximately half the amount of CO2 per unit of primary energy compared with coal. Here we consider a scenario where a fraction of coal usage is replaced by natural gas (i.e., methane, CH4) over a given time period, and where a percentage of the gas production is assumed to leak into the atmosphere. The additional CH4 from leakage adds to the radiative forcing of the climate system, offsetting the reduction in CO2 forcing that accompanies the transition from coal to gas. . .

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TAGGED: natural gas, coal energy, carbon emissions, methane, climate change, Climate Change Letters


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