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Mile High Natural Awakenings

Methane Matters: Fracking Linked to Global Warming

Oct 31, 2019 07:30AM

effective stock photos/Shutterstock.com

As methane concentrations increase in the atmosphere, evidence points to shale oil and gas as the probable source, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken steps to stop regulating it. New Cornell University research published in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union, suggests that the methane released by high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has different characteristics than the methane from conventional natural gas and other fossil fuels such as coal. About two-thirds of all new gas production over the last decade has been shale gas produced in the U.S. and Canada, says the paper’s author, Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology: “If we can stop pouring methane into the atmosphere, it will dissipate. It goes away pretty quickly compared to carbon dioxide. It’s the low-hanging fruit to slow global warming.”
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