Nature and Environment 10231 Views by JD91

Drilling For Oil And Gas Triggers Global Warming, Scientists Suggest

We have always thought that natural gas was a clean, environmentally-friendly source of energy. However, a recent research shows that it is exactly the opposite.

According to a report published on 23 August on British online newspaper The Daily Mail, “humans drilling for oil and gas are to blame for rocketing levels of the greenhouse gas methane in our atmosphere”.

A recent study carried out by researchers from Oregon State University found that “atmospheric methane has increased from 750 parts per billion in the year 1750 to more than 1,800 parts per billion today”. Additionally, “fossil fuel production, the creation of rice paddies, and cattle ranching are the main offenders”.

“The study points to humans triggering the recent rise in methane in our atmosphere, rather than the gas escaping from Earth's permafrost as it is melted by climate change”, The Daily Mail states. “The study suggests that human emissions of geologic methane may be as much as 25 per cent higher than previous estimates”, it adds.

Edward Book, professor at Oregon State University and co-author of the study affirms that “all of the natural gas that we mine is very old and leaking inevitably occurs during that process”.

“Natural gas is considered a cleaner energy source than coal, but it can be a significant problem depending on how much of the methane is leaking out”, he expressed. “Our findings show that natural geologic emissions of methane - for example, leakage from oil seeps or gas deposits in the ground - are much smaller than previously thought”, he explained.  

The professor also suggested that “a greater percentage of the methane in the atmosphere today is due to human activities, including oil drilling, and the extraction and transport of natural gas”.

Another scientist involved in this research, Professor Vasilii Petrenko, affirmed that these findings could help fight the current global warming by reducing human methane emissions. “This means we have even more potential to fight global warming by curbing methane emissions from our fossil fuel use” he said.

Draw your own conclusions…

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