Additionally, as Romm points out, emission calculations related to shale gas should not be limited to the burning of shale gas. The excavation process itself, including the highly toxic practice of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, involves a “high rate of methane leakage.” Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases and should be calculated in the overall estimates of shale gas’s climate impact—a factor industry proponents fail to include in their analyses.

“From a climate perspective, then, the shale gas revolution is essentially irrelevant,” writes Romm, “and arguably a massive diversion of resources and money that could have gone into deploying carbon-free sources.”

Conversely, as the Stanford study shows through a series of projected models, a progressive carbon tax on the fossil fuel industry would significantly reduce carbon emission in the future:


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