21 Apr 2013

Hydraulic fracturing to enhance gas production is “the best green option of this decade”, according to Danish academic Bjorn Lomberg.

“If fracking happens around the world, emissions would likely decline substantially by 2020,” he writes in an article  published in The Australian and USA Today.

“In spite of decades of political wrangling, which failed to produce a meaningful global climate policy, it was ironically the US with the shale gas revolution that has cut the most emissions globally.

“Fracking in the US has caused a dramatic transition to natural gas, a fuel which emits 45 per cent less carbon per energy unit [than coal].”

US Energy Information Agency data shows that US carbon dioxide emissions declined by more than 700 million tonnes last year. That’s 12 per cent lower than the peak in 2007.

As Lomberg notes: “The shift from coal to natural gas is alone responsible for a reduction of between 400 and 500Mt. In fact, it amounts to twice the reduction the rest of the world has achieved, even under the Kyoto Protocol.”

For more on the environmental benefits of fraccing, read this recent article by Harvard University Professor of Capital Formation and Growth, Jeffrey Frankel.