LNG Said to Be 70% Cleaner, Refrigerant GHG Leaks Targeted

By Published On: February 13, 2009

The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas said that a life cycle emissions analysis shows that gas-fired power plants fueled with imported LNG in the U.S. would emit considerably less greenhouse gases than “clean coal” plants using integrated gasification combined cycle or advanced ultra super critical technology. The trade group for the liquefied natural gas industry said that the advanced coal technologies would produce 70 percent more life-cycle emissions--that is, from fuel extraction to power plant exhaust--than LNG-fueled power plants. Conventional coal plants emit two-and-a-half times more carbon dioxide, according to the center. “LNG will clearly play a crucial role in helping to meet the substantial increase in demand for clean burning natural gas once climate change legislation becomes a reality,” said Bill Cooper, the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas president. However, a California clean energy group criticized the study, saying it used a misleading benchmark. Instead of comparing liquefied natural gas-fueled power plants to coal-fueled plants, Ratepayers for Affordable Clean Energy said that the study should have compared them to plants fueled with domestic gas or plants that run on renewable energy, like sunshine or wind. The clean energy group said studies show that LNG--because of the energy used to refrigerate and ship it--can increase the life cycle emissions of natural gas fueled power plants by up to 10 percent. “Importing LNG is not the solution to the climate crisis,” concluded Rory Cox, spokesperson for the clean energy group. * * * The California Air Resources Board is taking aim at leaks in large- and medium-sized air conditioning and refrigeration systems because refrigerants are potent greenhouse gases. Under a draft rule discussed at a February 10 meeting, the agency would require 76,000 building operators--from commercial buildings to grocery stores and cold storage warehouses--to monitor and repair refrigerant leaks. Regulators would enforce the requirement. Fixing the leaks is integral to achieving the state’s aim of cutting greenhouse gases 30 percent by 2020 under Califor-nia’s climate protection law, AB 32, Air Board staff said. The commonly used refrigerant compounds--known as hydrochlorofluorocarbons--are 90 to 1,800 times more powerful in their greenhouse gas effect than carbon dioxide. The agency said that the leak repair regulation, expected to be adopted by its board in May, would cut the equivalent of 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2020. * * * A business group sniped at the Western Climate Initiative, releasing a study claiming that if the carbon cap-and-trade program negotiated under the multi-state agreement takes effect it would cut the average global temperature by only one-ten-thousandth of a degree Celsius over a hundred years. The Western Business Roundtable in Colorado released the report February 12.

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