Tag archives for natural gas

Thought leaders from across Japan’s energy sector gathered in Tokyo to discuss the role energy will play in adapting the country’s cities to a challenging environment of aging and declining population and increasing dependence on foreign sources for food and fuel. Tokyo-Yokohama, the world’s largest urban concentration, is already in many ways in the vanguard of the future of urban centers. What happens in this mega city is being watched closely across the planet for ideas to emulate or avoid.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is often promoted as a way for coal power to be made “clean”: Projects such as the in-progress Kemper power plant in Mississippi and the recently announced Petra Nova project in Texas aim to trap the carbon dioxide from burning coal and then store it into underground storage or into…

Cutting the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that stoke climate change could save billions in energy costs and boost revenue for the natural gas industry, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute, a research organization that advocates for environmental sustainability. The report, Seeing Is Believing, focuses on five areas that account for 55…

An area in the U.S. Southwest that’s about half the size of Connecticut has emitted the country’s largest concentration of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, according to a new analysis of satellite data. The study, which was released jointly by the American Geophysical Union and NASA, found that between 2003 and 2009, the area released…

As more data emerge, shale gas increasingly appears to be in the cross-hairs of the water-energy nexus, and far too little is being done to defuse impending conflicts. While hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”), the process used to unleash natural gas from shale deposits, has raised serious concerns about groundwater contamination, less attention has been given…

It is often called “fire ice”:  Around the world, cage-like lattices of water molecules trap untold stores of methane gas.  Petroleum engineers have been familiar with these frozen compounds—properly known as methane hydrates—for years, because they block the flow of oil in pipelines. The effects of methane hydrates were highlighted in 2010, when British Petroleum’s…

What exactly is “the cleanest liquefied natural gas in the world?” It’s a hypothetical fuel that leaders in British Columbia, Canada, have repeatedly promised to deliver in an effort to build public support for their proposed LNG industry. But while it sounds clear-cut, it’s proven a tough nut to crack. After all, the greenhouse gases…

Can good economic times roll while carbon emissions decline? Maybe so. Last week the Obama administration proposed new rules to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants under the auspices of the Clean Air Act. Once EPA officially publishes the rule in the Federal Register (most likely in a week or two), a…

In an effort to cut dependence on coal and to reduce pollution, Chinese authorities have been encouraging use of more natural gas. China relies overwhelmingly on countries in Central Asia to procure that gas. But as China deepens its energy ties with Central Asia, it may face a predicament that it has not faced yet:…

Natural gas emits significantly less carbon dioxide than either coal or gasoline when burned, but its ability to help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions has been questioned. In the latest contribution to the debate, a study published this week by Duke University researchers concludes that switching to abundant shale gas as an energy source is…

After decades of debate and with growing anxiety about climate change, the planet is no closer to a systematic solution to our collective energy challenge. Yet still we try. At its impressive Vancouver gathering, National Geographic asked a simple question:  Is natural gas the bridge to a sustainable energy future?  (See video featuring participants including…

British Columbia finds itself at the forefront of the global debate on natural gas, and its role in the future of energy. Some 15 energy company consortiums are vying to build massive export terminals on the Pacific coastline of Canada’s westernmost province, with an eye to shipping gas to energy-hungry Asia. British Columbia, in other…

On March 25, I was honored to participate in a roundtable discussion convened by National Geographic as part of its Great Energy Challenge initiative. Along with a group of academics, government officials, and representatives of industry and nongovernmental organizations, we tackled key questions about the role of natural gas in a low-carbon future. What became…

Almost all of the climate-affecting methane leaks from the oil and gas infrastructure could be reduced at relatively little expense, often by simply tightening bolts or replacing worn seals, suggests a new study by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force released today. (See related story: “Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy.”) The report…

In his call Tuesday for boosting the fuel economy of heavy-duty trucks, President Barack Obama is taking aim at one of the world’s fastest growing engines of oil demand and greenhouse gas emissions. But one of the most popular ideas for reducing oil demand in trucking—switching to natural gas—may not help on climate change. A…

Emissions of the potent heat-trapping gas, methane, the main component of natural gas, are likely 50 percent higher than U.S. government has estimated in its official greenhouse gas inventory, says a new study that is the most comprehensive effort yet to assess the problem. But the team of scientists, after reviewing more than 200 earlier…

Fracking in Water-Stressed Zones Increases Risks to Communities – and Energy Producers

Even as concerns arise about the threats hydraulic fracturing poses to water quality and human health, a new study released yesterday finds that the water demands of the “fracking” process are adding considerably to localized water depletion, especially in parts of Texas, Colorado, and California. (Vote and comment: “How Has Fracking Changed Our Future?“) Nearly…

A massive winter storm hit much of the U.S. Tuesday, dumping heavy snowfall along the East Coast and sending temperatures plunging from 15 to 30 degrees below normal from the Mid-Atlantic region to the upper Midwest. But in addition to causing school closings and disrupting highway traffic, frigid winter weather has far-reaching effects on energy…

A new study challenges our understanding of natural gas as a clean fuel, and raises new questions about the U.S. energy boom. Sure, natural gas (or methane, its main component) burns with less pollution than coal, but release it directly to the atmosphere and it is a highly potent greenhouse gas–at least 25 times worse…

Which is more important: Meeting energy demand, lowering carbon emissions, or conserving water? How about all three? The Three Big Challenges Facing the Electric Power Industry The U.S. electric power industry has huge challenges to meet in the coming decades. First and foremost it has to meet growing demand for electricity. By 2050 it is…

The British government’s long-awaited “policy framework” on the Arctic is not likely to please environmentalists who would like to see an outright moratorium on oil and natural gas drilling. But Clive Archer, emeritus professor and former head of the Manchester Metropolitan University’s European Institute, who has studied Arctic issues extensively, believes it is an important…

The International Energy Agency made headlines nearly one year ago with its bold forecast that the United States was on track to being the world’s top oil and natural gas producer by 2017. (See related, “U.S. to Overtake Saudi Arabia, Russia as World’s Top Energy Producer.”) It turns out that the United States is fracking…

Another crack in the “fracking is safe” story for the industry to address.

The United Kingdom may not be an Arctic nation, but it has a unique perch on the front line of the dramatic change reshaping the polar north. The U.K. government now is preparing to unveil an Arctic policy framework, its own version of the strategy documents  put forth by nations in the thick of decision-making…

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the first-ever national limits for carbon emissions from new power plants in the United States–a step that seeks to reshape the debate on climate change in the inevitable political and legal battles that lie ahead. (See related, “Four Ways to Look at Global Carbon Footprints.”) “We must meet our…