Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Drilling Vs. Global Warming

Written By: Joe Melillo

What if Natural Gas actually help fight global warming? Well one Cornell professor says it can, and his findings are challenging some of his colleagues.

Global Warming VS. Drilling
 

July 10, 2012

Southern Tier (WENY) - What if Natural Gas actually help fight global warming? Well one Cornell professor says it can, and his findings are challenging some of his colleagues. In a recently published paper, Cornell Professor Larry Cathels says no matter how you drill it, natural gas is the way to go, to slow global warming.

     It's based on substitution. Professor Cathels says if we start using natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and stop using other sources of energy like coal and petroleum, we could actually slow global warming. The study asserts, if the nation substituted natural gas for all coal and some oil, it would substantially decrease the nation's carbon footprint. Another Cornell professor, Robert Howarth's study found, the methane which leaks during natural gas drilling would do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal. Cathles' study found low leakage rates which wouldn't add to global warming. He also says methane doesn't stay in the atmosphere as long as Carbon.

     “By substituting natural gas we put less Co2 into the atmosphere we make less of a long term problem for ourselves. That long term benefit is realized in the short term weather we have a problem because of methane leakage, and I think it just makes sense,” says Cathles.

     Professor Cathels says in order to see the benefits within 50 years we would have to act on these changes right away.