Natural Gas: The Transitional Energy Source Against Climate Change?
Natural gas holds a composition of different gases, but it is primarily composed of hydrocarbons. However unlike other fossil fuels such as petroleum, the chemical reactions involved in extracting energy from natural gas is quite different, thus producing far less carbon emissions than most non-renewable energy sources.
Despite being a lot cleaner, cheaper and easier to find than oil and coal however, the fact that it still produces a small amount of emissions when used still places it in the dirty fuels category. New study and research however, seems to encourage the use of natural gas anyway, if we ever want to mitigate the effects of climate change on our planet at the earliest time possible.
The conclusion of using natural gas to fight global warming was a result of the research made by Cornell University’s Professor Lawrence Cathles. The main point of his research explains the urgency of quickly phasing coal and oil out of use in favor of natural gas to quickly reduce global carbon emissions. The calculations in the report elaborates with an explanation that if our civilization could make the switch right now, natural gas could yield at least 40% of the positive effect on carbon-emissions and global warming that a renewable green energy source could make. All in all, the research generally considers natural gas as the most important “stabilization wedge” that we could ever use to quickly mitigate the effects of global warming.
The study specifically pointed out that transitional speed is the more important element in its proposition, logically because our green energy technologies are currently still behind schedule. We are still uncertain whether these green technologies would actually be developed efficiently in time before permanent climate changes occur. With natural gas as the transitional fuel, we can at least slow down climate change and extend the ultimate deadline, providing the much needed development window for alternative energy to catch up.
Increased leakage rates would perhaps be one of the problems that critics would point out when it comes to natural gas extraction, especially if it were to become the next primary source of non-renewable energy. However, the study carefully points out that leakage rates are actually lower now that what the data has shown a few years ago. And even with slightly higher leakage rates, we would still be ultimately better off using natural gas than the dirtier oil and coal.
It should be noted that, as indicated earlier, the study simply showed that alternative green energy cannot be the solution right at this exact moment. It has never made the importance of green renewable energy look inferior in any way. It is just that in terms of proliferation, application, and development speed, they are still not what we would need right now at this moment to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Of course, the decision to actually adopt the use of natural gas over oil and coal is still at the hands of the higher economic authorities.
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