Coal vs Shale Gas: The Effect of Methane Leakage PDF Print E-mail

In general, natural gas produces about half the CO2 emissions of coal.  However, new methods of drilling for gas called fracking result in the escape of methane into the atmosphere.  In hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, water, sand and chemicals are pumped beneath shale formations to force out trapped gas. Massive gas reserves  that were formerly unreachable can be accessed, but drilling operations leak large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.  Over 20 years, methane is estimated to be 72 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its effects on climate change.

Research by Tom M. L. Wigley indicates that the leakage of methane gas that occurs in hydraulic fracturing of shale beds offsets the reduction of CO2 in the transition from coal to gas.  The replacement of coal with shale gas can increase global warming if leakage is high.  Wigley concludes that "unless leakage rates for new methane can be kept below 2%, substituting gas for coal is not an effective means for reducing the magnitude of future climate change."



MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

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