US shale gas drives up coal exports

Oct 29, 2012

US CO2 emissions from domestic energy have declined by 8.6% since a peak in 2005, the equivalent of 1.4% per year.

However, the researchers warn that more than half of the recent reductions in the power sector may be displaced overseas by the trade in coal.

Dr John Broderick, lead author on the report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, comments: "Research papers and newspaper column inches have focussed on the relative emissions from coal and gas.

"However, it is the total quantity of CO2 from the that matters to the climate. Despite lower-carbon rhetoric, shale gas is still a carbon intensive energy source. We must seriously consider whether a so-called "golden age" would be little more than a gilded cage, locking us into a high-carbon future."

Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre notes: "Since 2008 when the shale gas supply became significant, there has been a large increase in US coal exports. This increases as the UK, Europe and Asia are burning the coal instead. Earlier Tyndall analysis suggests that the role for gas in a low carbon transition is extremely limited, with shale gas potentially diverting substantial funds away from genuinely low and zero carbon alternatives"

This Co-operative commissioned report "Has US Shale Gas Reduced CO2 Emissions?" is the third on shale gas from the Tyndall Centre – and builds on several years of research and submissions to the UK and European Parliaments as well as the International Energy Agency.

Chris Shearlock, Sustainable Development Manager at The Co-operative, said: "The proponents of shale gas have always claimed that it is a lower carbon alternative to coal. However, this is only true if the it displaces remains in the ground and isn't just burnt elsewhere. Without a cap on , is burnt in addition to other fossil fuels, increasing total emissions."

Explore further: Grouse moor burning causes widespread environmental changes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fracking leaks may make gas 'dirtier' than coal

Apr 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale could do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal, according to a Cornell study published in the May issue of Climatic Change Letters (105:5).

Carbon dioxide emissions reach record high

May 29, 2012

Emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide reached an all-time high last year, further reducing the chances that the world could avoid a dangerous rise in global average temperature by 2020, according to the International ...

Recommended for you

Rating the planet's oceans

11 hours ago

The most comprehensive assessment conducted by the Ocean Health Index rates the Earth's oceans at 67 out of 100 in overall health. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the ...

Feds to unveil cleanup plan for nuke waste dump

13 hours ago

After nearly eight months, the U.S. Department of Energy has formalized a plan for cleaning up the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
not rated yet Oct 29, 2012
If the importers of U.S. coal weren't importing it from the U.S., what would they be doing? Getting it from someplace else. Coal is a commodity.
I concur with the goal of zero-carbon energy, but this is not a productive way to approach the problem.
FrankHerbert
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 29, 2012
Coal: not in my back yard. I'd rather live next to TMI than a Coal plant. There's less radiation at TMI lol.
CapitalismPrevails
2 / 5 (4) Oct 29, 2012
Whether or not you believe in AGW or not(i don't), this is why Capitalism Prevails! Just let the market work and you will have better end results like less pollution but more energy/wealth to go around. Capitalism provides better trade offs.