Since the Industrial Revolution coal has been one of the most important energy commodities for countries and industries across the world. However, this is beginning to change as many businesses search for cleaner energy sources. With new drilling techniques, lower prices, and a large domestic supply in the United States, natural gas is becoming a very popular energy commodity. This energy switch from coal to natural gas is often viewed as beneficial for the environment but there has been some doubt regarding this belief.
A new study released by the National Center for Atmospheric Research claims that a switch from coal to natural gas will not reduce global warming. According to the study, cutting worldwide coal burning by half and using natural gas instead would still increase global temperatures and accelerate climate change over the next four decades. While burning natural gas releases fewer carbon emissions, a potent greenhouse gas known as methane leaks during natural gas drilling operations. This problem can be corrected and provides a great opportunity for important innovations in the extraction of natural gas. However at this time, a solution has not been developed. The news of this study can have major impacts on countries and businesses making the switch to natural gas.
Recently, the European Union has developed an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emission rates by eighty percent over the next four decades. As a result many countries in the Europe have started replacing coal with natural gas as it gives off less carbon emissions. Poland has looked to increase its natural gas consumption because of the new environmental policies set by the European Union. Countries are not the only ones increasing their use of natural gas. Companies are also making changes to use natural gas as a main energy source. For example, a United States steelmaking company recently converted its vehicles to run purely on natural gas.
In light of the recent climate change studies, businesses and countries now have important decisions to make regarding their use of natural gas. It will be interesting to see if natural gas continues to see an increase in use over the years or whether coal regains its status as the main energy commodity. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain. The development of technology to reduce methane leaks when extracting natural gas would have tremendous impact on the energy industry.