News Stories

Not So Clean After All

Deep water oil drilling rigs may not be causing obvious leaks (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), but they are leaking dangerous methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane has 25 times the warming power of carbon dioxide. In half a year, these gas leaks could equal the annual global warming impact of putting 300,000 new cars on the road.

Many of these drilling platforms are mining natural gas, which was once considered to be a "clean" fuel, compared to coal and gasoline, but it can do real damage to the environment, even if it does so invisibly. The US is now doing a lot of "fracking" for gas--to the extent that on the Time magazine website, Bryan Walsh quotes President Obama as saying, "We, it turns out, are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas."

Walsh reports that, "Natural gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide as coal does when burned. But it's not quite that simple. Some amount of methane will always leak away during the production of natural gas--particularly during the process of drilling or transporting via pipelines. And that means more warming. If enough methane leaks, natural gas loses its clean reputation."

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