Switching to natural gas won’t slow climate changeSeptember 9th, 2011 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Sep 9 (IANS) Burning natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal, but switching over to this medium won’t slow down climate change, claims a new study.
Tom Wigley, senior research associate at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), underscores how the complex and sometimes conflicting ways of fossil fuel burning affects climate.
While coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping CO2, it also releases large amounts of sulphates that cool the planet by blocking sunlight, the journal Climatic Change Letters reports.
The situation is further complicated by uncertainty over the quantity of methane that leaks from natural gas operations. Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas, according to an NCAR statement.
Wigley’s computer simulations indicate that a worldwide, partial shift from coal to natural gas would slightly accelerate climate change through at least 2050, even if no methane leaked from natural gas operations, and through as late as 2140 if there were substantial leaks.
After that, the greater reliance on natural gas would begin to slow down the increase in global average temperature, but only by a few tenths of a degree.
“Relying more on natural gas would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, but it would do little to help solve the climate problem,” says Wigley, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
- Increased shipping likely to accelerate climate change as Arctic warms - Oct 26, 2010
- Diseased trees found to be new source of methane in air - Aug 09, 2012
- Slashing meat intake vital for curbing emissions - Apr 16, 2012
- Saline aquifers can store century's worth of CO2 emissions - Mar 22, 2012
- Changes in population growth and composition influence climate change - Oct 12, 2010
- Oceans absorbing half of greenhouse emission - Aug 02, 2012
- Shrinking ice sheet may free methane reserves - Aug 30, 2012
- Super cooling coal smoke can slash noxious emissions - Aug 28, 2012
- Direct removal of CO2 from air impractical: Scientists - May 10, 2011
- Freshwater methane emission changes greenhouse gas equation - Jan 07, 2011
- Economic impact of Arctic melt could amount to 2.4 trillion dollars by 2050 - Feb 08, 2010
- Aerosols can make methane more potent than previously thought - Oct 30, 2009
- Low-carbon technology can't fix global warming - Feb 16, 2012
- Experts study black carbon, tropospheric ozone's role in climate change - Feb 21, 2011
- Biofuels will worsen CO2 emissions: Study - Oct 24, 2011
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,