fossil fuels

Margot Gerritsen

Stanford University, Associate Professor, Energy Resources Engineering; Director, Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering

December 6, 2012

Fossil fuels: reduce, reduce, reduce

Robert Howarth

photo: Leaflet

For the first two decades after it is released into the atmosphere, methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. In assessing impacts of hydraulic fracturing, Bob Howarth (2000) says attention should be paid to the methane released when this drilling method is used to extract natural gas. In pursuing future energy sources, he stresses the need to move away from fossil fuels, including natural gas, and toward renewable fuels such as solar and wind power. "We should focus on reducing the use of fossil fuels, not finding more of them," he says.

April 28, 2011

Natural gas harms climate more than coal

Robert Howarth

photo: Derek Ramsey

Overall greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas exceed those from coal, in part because of methane release from drilling sites and pipeline leaks, according to a new study co-authored by Bob Howarth. The study also calls for further research and better measurements of emissions, for which data is sparse. Some criticize the study for, among other reasons, the sparsity of data.


April 28, 2010

Scientists urge rejection of new Colorado roadless rule

Barry Noon, Stuart Pimm

photo: Renaudeh

Colorado is petitioning the federal government for an exemption from a rule against developing 4 million acres of roadless national forest. The state hopes to implement its own rule, which provides exceptions for coal, oil, and gas extraction and logging to reduce wildfire risk. While the Obama administration seems to support the measure, a group of 500 scientists, including Barry Noon (2004) and Stuart Pimm (1999), have signed a letter urging the USDA to reject the proposal.

April 22, 2010

Natural gas: red herring for "green"?

Robert Howarth

natural gas storage facility photo: Fletcher6

In an op-ed, Robert Howarth (2000) argues for investing in alternative energy rather than drilling for gas in New York's Marcellus Shale fields as a clean energy strategy. In a preliminary assessment, he found that while burning natural gas produces fewer emissions than burning oil, overall emissions (from extraction to burning) of natural gas exceed those from oil by 60%. Additional coverage appeared in the Financial Times.