GHG emissions from shale gas lower than that of coal – study (by the DEA)

Mining Weekly 26 March 2014.

An independent study commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has confirmed a long-argued position of shale gas and hydraulic fracturing proponents – that the volume of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted during the production and use of shale gas is lower than that emitted during the use and generation of coal-fired electricity.

(EGI-SA Editor’s note: This does depend on fugitive gas emissions (leakage) during the full life cycle. One estimate, from the Environmental Defence Fund, holds that if the leakage is greater than 3% of the total gas yield then shale gas is more polluting than coal, but this is hotly contested, see Shale gas: more or less polluting than coal)

The study, completed by consulting firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM) Southern Africa, found that, in comparing the GHG emissions profile of shale gas with conventional fuels, the “majority of research” suggested that coal-based power generation was between 30% and 55% more emissions intensive…


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