Researchers from Cornell University in the United States have found a connection between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and the release of substantial amounts of stored methane gas.


“Far from being a 'solution' to climate change, natural gas extracted from shale is a huge contributor of greenhouse gases when both methane and carbon dioxide are considered,” the researchers said in a statement.


Recently announced for publication in Climate Change, the study, titled Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas development, is the work of professor Robert Howarth and Renee Santoro, researchers in the  Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, and  Anthony Ingraffea, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell.


The study comes after an earlier report which provided the first analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas released by the fracking process.


Rather than understating the impact by looking only at shale gas used for electricity generation (just 30 percent of U.S. usage), the studies also look at heat generation (the largest use) over both a 20- and 100-year time frame.  The new paper emphasizes this 20-year time frame, and analyzes the US national greenhouse gas inventory in that context.


The full report can be found here