Research published in Energy Science & Engineering has found that natural gas has greater methane emissions than coal and oil. This is worrying because methane has twenty times the warming effect of carbon dioxide. Therefore, not only is the process of obtaining shale gas by fracking bad for the environment, but using the gas to heat homes is incredibly bad for the planet. This paper provides another strong argument that investment should be made in green, sustainable energy.
Full article: Robert W. Howarth. A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas. Energy Science & Engineering, 2014; 2 (2): 47 DOI: 10.1002/ese3.35
Both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger greenhouse gas footprint than do coal or oil, especially for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating. "While emissions of carbon dioxide are less from natural gas than from coal and oil, methane emissions are far greater. Methane is such a potent greenhouse gas that these emissions make natural gas a dangerous fuel from the standpoint of global warming over the next several decades," said the author of a new article.