These days we have been able to analyze two different news about the use of natural gas as replacement of liquid and solid fuels, although we need to consider if what we are going to show can be called news. On the one hand the report of Transport & Environment, an international association in which Ecologistas en Accion participates. On the other the report of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition.
If you compare both works, you will soon discover that the Transport and Environment details with many data and explanations the research done, while the Ministry, not only does not detail how it has reached its results but shows them as an absolute truth, that is, as an act of faith, which in this case could be suicidal for the planet.
Undoubtedly, the Ministry’s report will reach all companies and media in the country; Not so with Transport and Environment, which will only reach ecologist associations or the most restless activists. The name of the Ministry already offers enough confidence: For the Ecological Transition, which shows the apparent willingness to change our energy model.
The misnamed report of the Ministry does not show data nor who has written it, the Transport and Environment is dated this last October and not only says who has written it but also who has reviewed it.
To all this, the most painful fact is that, in principle, the Ministry has enough professionals and financial means that charge good salaries to develop a study, and not a mere statement that seems to be the copy of a report from the energy industry. However, the environmental groups are nourished by small donations, usually from people with not too many resources, and from many volunteer scientists, possibly working for little money or for the satisfaction of a job well done.
But let’s go to the data.
One of the most serious problems of natural gas is its high global warming factor. In addition, we cannot ignore that the average methane gas lost during the supply of fossil gas is 2.2%, a gigantic figure for what it means for the atmosphere. To this 2.2% we must add the part that is lost during the extraction work, which can be much greater. The greenhouse effect of fossil methane is 30 times higher than CO2, and unfortunately, its emissions are expected to increase considerably, given that different countries facilitate their use.
The energy efficiency of methane in combustion engines is very similar to that of other fossil fuels. In some cases, methane can be beneficial, for example in the transportation of land goods. However, we can assure that the small savings of around 7% of CO2 emissions due to the use of methane gas in combustion engines, is largely compensated by the gas leaks to the atmosphere. As the paper explains, the new diesel engines equate the emission of CO2 with those of gas, so that this little advantage would be eliminated, without considering however the inevitable methane leaks.
To conclude, what this paper aims to explain is that there are cheaper long-term alternatives with zero emissions for all the uses in which methane can be less polluting than the rest of fossil fuels.