A new peer-reviewed study by MIT (see below) obliterates the findings and false claims made in a previous Cornell University study by Robert Howarth and Tony Ingraffea. The Cornell study tried to make the case that natural gas is actually worse for the environment than burning coal because of so-called greenhouse gas emissions from “fugitive methane” escaping into the atmosphere during the gas drilling process (see this MDN story).
A new study published in Environmental Research Letters by MIT researchers has done some actual—instead of theoretical—measurements and has found that “fugitive emissions” of methane are much smaller than Howarth and Ingraffea stated. Smaller by orders of magnitude—like only 22% of what the Cornell study theorized them to be. Oops. Paging Howarth and Ingraffea—the dean wants to see you in his office NOW.