11 October 2011

CATF on Wigley on Gas

The Clean Air Task Force has posted up a convincing critique of Tom Wigley's recent paper which discussed the global-average effects of a large switch to gas generation from coal.  In a nutshell:
Our bottom line conclusion on the Wigley paper, then, is as follows:
  • Sulfates, which are mainly produced by burning coal, are certainly cooling the planet; removing them will result in warming. However, sulfate removal has been and will be driven by air quality concerns and not by retiring coal plants and replacing them with natural gas. 
  • The greenhouse gas footprint of coal is still worse than that of natural gas, even when the harmful methane emissions from natural gas wells and pipelines are factored in.
In any case, a monumental and global dash for gas appears to be coming whatever these various academic studies say.