“Scottish Widows Investment Partnership says fracking companies not bothering to capture ‘fugitive methane’“
And neither should they – it simply isn’t economical to do so and has zero downside. “Global warming” is simply another risk that never was.
Using shale gas instead of coal does nothing to help the climate, one of the biggest investors in gas has said, because shale gas companies are failing to use simple technology to fix leaks of a potent greenhouse gas.
Switching from coal to shale gas is supposed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because gas produces less carbon than coal when burned. The difference in emissions has been the chief basis for claims by the gas industry that this new form of gas represents a “green” shift that will help to tackle climate change.
But at present these savings do not exist, according to an authoritative study by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, a major financial investor in fossil fuels. It would take two or three decades for shale gas to make a genuine dent in greenhouse gas emissions, as large amounts of coal power went offline, the analysis found.
The problem is that “fracking” – blasting rocks apart to obtain gas, which is present in tiny pockets contained within certain dense rocks – produces leaks that pour methane into the atmosphere.
Methane is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming.
Companies could use technology known as “green completion” in order to capture the leaking natural gas, known as fugitive methane. But the vast majority do not, particularly in the US where fracking is most advanced, because it costs money and they face no penalty for the leaks.
“This is a very big issue, and has huge implications for climate change, given the pursuit of shale gas,” said Craig Mackenzie, author of the report by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. “But there are things gas companies can do to make themselves more green.”