Monday, October 17, 2011

Hydofracking worse for environment than coal?

Hydraulic fracturing (know as 'fracking') is the controversial natural gas extraction process that's being proposed for much of central and southern New York. It's been controversial because the fracking represents a serious threat to safe drinking water

However, The Cornell Daily Sun reports on other major side effects of the extraction process. A university study concluded that hydrofracking may harm the environment even more than the mining of coal and will exacerbate the effects of climate change. This is significant because natural gas has long been touted as the cleanest fossil fuel.

“We looked at the greenhouse gas in comparison to conventional natural gas,” [Cornell Prof. Robert] Howarth said. “Our research showed that carbon dioxide is only part of the problem, and natural gas, which is mostly methane, is far more potent. Even small leakages have a large footprint, leading to our conclusion that natural gas actually has a bigger impact on global warming.”

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