Home Environment Climate Change

Experts Say Fracking Accelerates Global Warming


Anti-FrackingIt turns out, none of the hullabaloo about fracking being positive and slowing climate change is true.

For some time, fracking has had a reputation for curbing global warming since burning gas emits half as much carbon dioxide as the same amount of coal. The numbers associated with fracking looked good, too. After initially embracing fracking in the US, CO2 emissions have seemingly fallen.

However, climate scientists are cautioning that this is all an illusion. A recent study by Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado declares that replacing coal with gas actually raises rather than decreases the rate of warming for many decades because it involves methane and not CO2.

Fracking involves pumping massive amounts of water at very high speeds into shale beds deep underground in order to release trapped natural gas. However, this technique also releases methane, which then leaks into the atmosphere. Methane is far more damaging than CO2. Fracking experts have realized that long after fracking ends at a site, the methane may not stop leaking when the fracking wells are sealed.

Wigley posits that switching from coal to gas might only bring benefits during this century if leakage rates get below 2%. If rates are at 10% – the high end of current US estimates – the gas would deliver extra warming until the mid-22nd century.

(Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)


  1. @J Matthis yeah, but wasn’t the methane simply trapped underground to begin with? now that we’ve injected the fluids down there and cracked the shell, of course it’s all gonna leak out.

  2. Logic people just use logic if the wells are capped how does the methane get out? So if the methane is leaking out of the ground after the wells are capped it would stand to reason that the methane is leaking out of the ground anyway. This is another form of meta data manipulation kinda like climate change in general. The climate is in a perpetual state of change you cant stop it and you cant control it. It is a scam for people to pretend to take credit for something that is happening anyway. No one can deny climate change that’s why we use this term instead of global warming, we used to say global warming until the facts got in the way and it seem we’ve been cooling for the last 15 years.  Climate change is not a lie, the reasons that people say climate change is happening are. We have simply not been around long enough to have an impact on a system that operates in geologic time…..sorry to burst your bubble.

  3. That’s one report. A recent MIT study that is here:
    said this:
    “However, it is also clear that the production of shale gas and specifically, the associated hydraulic fracturing operations have not materially altered the total GHG emissions from the natural gas sector. Furthermore, for the vast majority of contemporary shale gas wells, the revenues gained from using reduced emissions completions to capture the gas produced during a typical flowback cover the cost of executing such completions.”
    Which experts are correct? I don’t know.  But I will say that any methane that is lost in production is lost profit. Companies would have reason to keep that to a minimum. 
    The concentration of CO2 varies from place to place and time to time as we see here: 
    As for the global warming potential of methane, it is important to keep in mind that there is over 228 times more by volume of CO2 than there is CH4 (methane).  The atmospheric life of methane is around 12 years. And there a whole lot more H2O than there is CO2. There appears to be some overlap between the absorption wavelengths of H2O and that of CH4. 
    The current concentration of CO2 is around 0.04%.  The current concentration of CH4 is around 0.000175%.  The concentration of atmospheric methane has increased from around 0.0001625% in 1984 to around 0.0001750% at present. Stated another way, It has increased by around 1.25 one hundred thousandths of a percentage point over the last 30 years.

  4. cbrichardsonjr well, the science saying that methane is about 20x worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas is worth noting. according to one report, about 1.3 of the natural gas being pulled out of Bakken Ridge is just flared off, and that doesn’t include what simply leaks out of the ground. Bakken Ridge flares are emitting CO2, but what of all the untapped natural gas leaks?

  5. “Experts” have been saying so much lately that has turned out to be assumption, speculation, exaggeration, misrepresentation, and in some cases, obvious prevarication intended to further an agenda. It is becoming increasingly difficult to know what to take seriously.   Tom Wigley is hardly an objective source on the subject of climate change. I would take anything that he says with a grain of salt.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.