Natural Gas Effects on Global Warming
Greenhouse gases are relevant as they keep the earth’s weather nice and stable in order for the earth to be habitable for all living beings. But what happens when those same gases become out of balance? What if they become a threat to living things instead of help?
How does climate change affect natural resources such as natural gas? Can these effects be mitigated in order to halt global warming? It is fair to say that with the continuous increase of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere, there is a greater threat to the planet, as it may become something like a rubbish bin in the future, in particular, if global warming keeps ongoing.
Natural Gas and Global Warming
The sudden and rapid increase in pollution is basically a response to reckless use of the earth’s natural resources, such as the finding and the consequently burning of fossil fuels. This has created a horrible and alarming situation for many scientists who have spent decades studying how climate change continues to evolve, especially during the last 4 decades or so.
What’s more, if human beings continue to misuse the natural resources that they can find, then there is a very high chance that the only planet we have to live, might end up being a planet where no life is possible (and this means that no living creature will be able to stay on the planet earth).
Governments around the world can implement actions that will help reduce the external factors that endanger natural resources. In specific, those resources that are often used as an aid to the development of the human race.
What is Natural Gas?
Natural gas mainly consists of methane and it is often used as fuel. It comes from deep beneath the earth’s surface and sometimes it also comes from the deposit of plants and other caves that are found in the world.
Is Natural Gas Good?
It is definitely not environmentally friendly. Even though natural gas indeed emits less carbon dioxide than coil, oil or any other fossil fuels, it is also true that natural gas releases methane, which is one of the main components of this fossil fuel. Now, there is a danger when using natural gas, and that is that methane is also a very potent greenhouse gas that can be harmful towards the environment as well.
In fact, some scientists believe methane to be worse than carbon dioxide, as they have studied the effects of this fossil fuel and have realized that when methane is being released into the atmosphere then it can become more dangerous to the weather than carbon dioxide.
Methane (CH₄) can be released from natural gas, petroleum industries, agriculture and even landfills.
A great amount of natural gas comes from a process called hydraulic fracturing (sometimes referred to as fracking). Companies tend to drill boreholes deep enough into the earth in order to inject some type of liquid (sometimes clean water) into the rock at a very high pressure. This will force the rock to open up and create some fissures thus the gas will be released through this.
If this doesn’t sound bad enough or polluting enough, also consider that most of the time clean water is used in order to produce the necessary pressure to break the rock. Thus not only is this new technique incredibly polluting the air, but it is also polluting the clean water that is usually found nearby where the companies work. In addition, the other liquid that is injected by the companies has dangerous chemicals that surely nobody would ever want to drink at all.
How Does Methane Work?
The sun releases its heat into the earth’s atmosphere, while methane traps this heat in order to alter the weather.
Did you know that scientists measure the potential strength of greenhouse gases? They use a metric scale that is called Global Warming Potential (GWP). One of the studies made a comparison between the GWP numbers of carbon dioxide and those from methane. They found out that methane has a GWP of 84 for a period of 20 years. In other words, during the first 20 years of the release of methane is stronger than dioxide carbon.
What Happens If There is a Leakage of Methane?
Some individuals think that methane is less polluting than coal or oil. This is definitely not the case, and it is like choosing a bad option between two terrible options. In order for methane to be ‘’less polluting’’ than other fossil fuels, methane must escape unburnt into the atmosphere, something that is very difficult to achieve.
So, if there is a great deal of methane that is being leaked, this could too affect the earth’s weather and what’s more, it will cause incredible damage to the atmosphere.
But how much methane leaks into the atmosphere? Even though it hasn’t been exactly quantified, scientists agree that methane leakage is bag enough to make significant damage on the weather and thus the earth.
What can Humanity Do to Stop Global Warming?
In order to stop global warming human beings must try to stop - or at least limit - the use of fossil fuels (like oil), carbon and natural gas. These could be replaced by renewable sources of energy that tend to be cleaner, but, at the same time, they provide a more efficient way of using this energy.
And even though some of the biggest concerns about an alternative renewable source of energy are in regards to the initial cost of the investment that needs to be made, it is also fair to say that wind and solar energy will become competitive with gas, and, in fact, will become cheaper than gas by 2025.
Of course, there are other more direct actions that can be done in order to stop global warming, such as planting trees, taking care of the existing forests and not reproducing any more plastic or other sources of pollution.