LNG exports may be more dangerous for the climate than coal – study

LNG exports may be more dangerous for the climate than coal – study

Katerina Belousova

CO2-equivalent emissions from LNG are 24-274% higher than from coal

Research Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell University, USA, Robert Howarth showed that the use of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) may be more dangerous for the climate than burning coal.

LNG creates unavoidable significant methane emissions during production and use domestically and much more when exported to Europe and Asia, reports The New Yorker.

Howarth is said to be one of the world's leading methane researchers. Methane is currently responsible for 40% of global warming, and natural gas is mostly methane.

As you know, methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon and has the second largest contribution to global warming. It is the main factor of climate change.

Howarth explained that greenhouse gas emissions are generated during the entire life cycle of LNG, namely during production, transportation, liquefaction, shipping and final combustion. They are 24% more than from mining and burning an equivalent amount of coal.

newyorker.com

newyorker.com

He emphasized that such data are based on calculations during export on the most modern ships that go by the most direct route. They will be 274% higher if LNG is transported on long flights in older models that require more oil.

Howarth said methane leaks occur at every stage of the process. Even when gas is compressed aboard ship in insulated tanks, some of it "boils off" as heat seeps through the insulation. Newer tankers try to burn this vaporized methane for fuel, but even then some is released into the exhaust stream.

"Short-term energy needs in emergencies such as an invasion of Ukraine are better met by reopening closed coal capacity on a temporary basis than by expanding LNG infrastructure," he said.

It is noted that agreements are currently being made in the US to expand the infrastructure for LNG export. Howarth's study is currently undergoing peer review. If other scientists confirm its veracity, it should force the administration of US President Joe Biden to take the data into account in energy and climate policies.

Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the level of methane in the atmosphere in 2021 exceeded the pre-industrial level by 162% and reached a historical maximum.

As EcoPolitic previously reported, a study by American scientists showed that the world is in the early stages of an emergency climate situation and will exceed the level of global warming by 1.5°C by 2030 and by 2°C by 2050.

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