The current explosion of shale gas production in the U.S., driven by the fracking boom, will not decrease carbon emissions in the long term as claimed by its proponents, according to a study released by Stanford’s Energy Modeling Forum this week.
While shale gas may have lower carbon emissions than dirtier forms of fossil fuel such as coal and crude oil, the exponential extraction and use of shale gas, says the report——will push out the use of sustainable energy solutions such as wind and solar and will thus increase, not decrease, overall carbon outputs going forward.
“Most claims that shale gas will significantly reduce U.S. carbon emissions in the future are based on little more than hand-waving and wishful thinking,” writes Joseph Romm at The Energy Collective. “That’s because those claims assume natural gas is replacing coal only, rather than replacing some combination of coal, renewables, nuclear power, and energy efficiency — which is obviously what will happen in the real world.”
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