• CORRECTION: This story was updated on May 10, 2012, to correct the following statement: “CH4 is far less abundant in the atmosphere than CO2—about 9% versus 82%, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).” The passage now reads: “CH4 is far less abundant in the atmosphere than CO2. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), CO2 makes up 82% of annual U.S. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and CH4 makes up 9%.”

Volume 90 Issue 16 | pp. 34-37
Issue Date: April 16, 2012

Methane: A New ‘Fracking’ Fiasco

The flood of natural gas production is hoped to slow climate change, but it might just make it worse
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Climate Change, Economy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: natural gas, fracking, EPA, meathane, climate change

The U.S. is on a natural gas binge. In a mere half-dozen years, natural gas production and prices have been transformed. Thanks to a new unconventional natural gas technology—hydraulic fracturing—the nation has seen natural gas production go from a trickle to a flood.

So-called fracking is based on improvements to a technology developed decades ago by the Department of Energy. By forcing millions of gallons of water under high pressure into shale and tightly bound . . .

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