Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Shifting from coal to natural gas in power plant operations is a key strategy for reducing CO2 emissions and stabilizing the climate, says new study.
A new study published in a journal called Nature Climate Change says reducing CO2 emissions via a shift from coal to natural gas power plants is key strategy to climate stabilization. That’s nothing new from our perspective but fractivists have always excused themselves from this reality by claiming methane leakages offset any CO2 emissions reduction gains. The neat part of this study is that the authors assumed the methane leakage issue at the outset and were somewhat surprised to find the case for a coal to natural gas shift was greater than they initially suspected.
More information on the study is available here and here from one of the authors, Francesco Cherubini, who happens to be a “professor of industrial ecology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and is “the lead author of the IPCC report Climate Change and Land.” Here are some of the key excerpts from Cherubini’s own blog entry (emphasis added):
Each emission of climate active species causes a different climate system response. The diverging outcomes in previous studies of the coal-to-gas shift may well stem from the metric type that was chosen as common indicator to compare the effects of different emissions on climate. Because the outcome can strongly depend on which metrics are applied, there is a need for careful reflection about the meaning and implications of each specific choice.
In our analysis, we used the metrics available from the latest IPCC report and focused on those that are most consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals. This choice of metrics aligned with the recent recommendations by the United Nations Environmental Programme and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. It is the first application of such recommendations to the coal-to-gas debate.
We found that the coal-to-gas shift is consistent with climate stabilization objectives for the next 50–100 years. Our finding is robust under a range of leakage rates and uncertainties in emissions data and metrics. Our case for the coal-to-gas shift is stronger than previously found, reinforcing the support for coal phase-out.
That’s pretty clear isn’t it? The authors still view natural gas as a bridge fuel until renewable energy sources become feasible on a large scale (doubtful in many instances, although carbon free may be another matter) but 50-100 years is still a very long time. It’s long enough, in fact, for the prediction of eventual renewable feasibility to be safely beyond challenge at this time, which is the point.
Those who, right or wrong, are serious about climate change are now admitting natural gas is the solution for the foreseeable future. But, you knew that, of course. It’s just that a lot of folks can’t or won’t admit because too much of the climate/fractivist movement is really about green energy hedge fund scams, not making real progress.