Natural Gas: Can It Really Help Reduce Global Warming?

 

Gaskessel (Natural Gas Storage - Vreative Commons/de:User:Igelball)

Credit: Igelball / CC BY-SA 3.0

After the United States marked the lowest level of Carbon-dioxide emissions this winter, it is believed that natural gas would help reduce global warming while acting as an alternative to coal to produce electricity.

The experts agree that natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, but they also add that replacing coal in all the world’s coal power plants with natural gas would reduce global warming merely by about 20 %only. The reason behind this firm conclusion is that the percentage of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere till now is so large that even if the whole world switches to natural gas, it will not help stop temperatures from rising for the next 100 years at least!

In short, a total shift from coal to natural gas would help reduce global warming merely by 20 % and that too over 100 years! But if the world starts using renewable or nuclear energy, it would slash the warming effect by about three quarters.

Also, in some environmentalists’ opinions, ‘franking’, the process of extracting natural gas releases large amounts of methane into the atmosphere, which also heats the planet!

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