Fracking for methane will not reduce methane.
Fracking’s Joe Camel has slick info graphics telling us that fracking for methane reduces methane. But the EPA’s greenhouse gas inventory shows methane levels are still climbing. The cherry-picked info graphic is an incomplete picture.
Emissions from this overall sector are up two percent in 2013, which includes emissions from oil (petroleum) systems which were at their highest levels ever since estimates began in 1990 – and up 68 percent since 2005. Emissions from natural gas processing, where impurities are removed to produce pipeline quality gas, are up 38 percent since 2005. From transmission and storage: Up 11 percent.
The inventory did find that emissions from the natural gas production category, which includes well sites and the system transporting gas to processing plants, decreased from 2012-2013, due to fewer wells being drilled and an increase in the share that use “green completions” as required by a 2012 EPA rule. (The fact that the EPA’s requirements led to a decrease underscores the importance of regulation in addressing methane emissions, by the way.) But by focusing on only one segment of the oil and gas supply chain the oil and gas lobby are only giving you part of the story.
- Natural gas is methane.
- It is a potent greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than CO2 on a 20-year time-frame.
- Methane levels are already way too high and they are warming our planet.
- The EPA still says natural gas operations are the leading source of methane.
If an obese person tries to lose weight on a Twinkie diet, they will still be obese. Or, for another analogy: fracking for methane to stop climate change is like using leeches to stop anemia.
The fastest way to reduce methane in our atmosphere is to stop fracking and start using renewable energy like wind and solar while mandating best emission control technologies on existing natural gas and oil facilities and infrastructure.