In your April 17 article about converting Watson Lake generators to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), it is stated that natural gas has a lower carbon emission footprint than diesel. Given that any natural gas burned in those generators will likely be sourced by “fracking,” this is misleading and promotes a common fallacy.
A 2011 peer-reviewed Cornell University study found the opposite. The study looked at direct emissions of CO2 during combustion, indirect emissions of CO2 during development and use of the energy source, and fugitive emissions of methane during and after production.
One researcher said: “The take-home message of our study is that if you do an integration of 20 years following the development of the gas, (fracked) gas is worse than conventional gas and is, in fact, worse than coal and worse than oil … We need to look at the true environmental consequences of shale gas.”
Unburned natural gas (methane) is a potent greenhouse gas, many times worse than emissions created from diesel. There is much concern about the escape of gas during production and post-production when abandoned well casings deteriorate and crack.
Much has been written about the damage fracking causes to water supplies. The process also has a massive footprint on the surface where thousands of drill sites are linked with pipelines and roads. Is this a landscape we want to see here? Well that is where we’re heading by converting to LNG.
One of the Cornell researchers summed up by saying: “We are not advocating for more coal or oil, but rather to move to a truly green, renewable future as quickly as possible.” It is time for Yukon Energy and our current Yukon government to give their heads a shake. Climate change is happening now.
We need a new vision for energy production. Clean-energy solutions exist, and much of the rest of the world is already investing heavily in them. Solar, wind, wave and tidal power are the future. Yet Canada’s governments remain in the dark ages – and in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry. My children and grandchildren deserve better.