Sample Essay Paper on The Effect of Methane Emissions in the Atmosphere during Natural Gas Extractions

The Effect of Methane Emissions in the Atmosphere during Natural Gas Extractions

Section I

This article was published in the influential Scientific American magazine on 26th June 2014. It was published under Energy and Sustainability category by Gayathri Vaidyanathan and Climate Wire. The issue in the article is that generating power from natural gas may not be a viable solution in combating the adverse effects of climate change. Climate change is caused by increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is caused by over-reliance on fossil fuels, such as coal and crude oil for generating power that is required to run industries and homes. Additionally, methane gas is also known for increasing global warming.

There are numerous sources that emit methane ranging from biomass, which consists of decaying remains of plants and animals (Howarth, Santoro & Ingraffea, 2011). Extraction of natural gas has been identified as one of the primary sources that contribute to the high levels of methane within the atmosphere, which in turn leads to adverse global warming effects. Due to pent up demand of natural gas, many companies and nations have rushed to tap the “gold rush”. Consequently, various sources, such as shale have been explored. Traditionally, natural gas was derived from the decomposition of crude oil during distillation. Global warming has adverse on our environment.

Who: All living things globally are affected,

What: Emissions of methane.

Where: The environment at large.

When: During extraction of natural gas from shale formations.

Why: Poor industry practices such as adoption of poor technology.

Section II

The impact of increased emission of methane into the atmosphere is well-known; global warming. The impact of global warming has already been felt much as it is talked about in the media, scholarly journals, and books. Global warming leads to desertification, destruction of the natural environment/ecosystem, flooding, and increased risks of wildfires. Due to high temperatures, there is increased evaporation of moisture from the ground, which dries up the ground leading to desertification.(Pittock 82) The results of desertification include death of plants and animals and land that is not suitable for agriculture (Pittock 226- 227). This leads to a drop in food production. The land also cracks up due to lack of moisture to hold the soil particles together and high temperatures (Pittock 80).

Due to high temperatures, there is a high chance of wildfires occurring in the forests, which leads to the expulsion of wild animals from the parks and destruction of water catchment areas. Global warming has led to the melting down of ice in the Polar Regions, which has consequently resulted in the immense rise in the level of the seas and oceans (Pittock 124). As a result of rise in the level of seas and oceans, low-level coastal lines have remained at risk of flooding. This means people living in settlements near the have been forced to migrate to the mainland.

Melting away of the glaciers has affected the environments of the animals in the Polar Regions, such as Bears whose number has rapidly diminished to a point of extinction. Global warming has also led to change in climatic patterns, which has led to torrential rains that lead to flooding and displacement, and typhoons that lead to the destruction of environments. Various solutions have been put forward to mitigate the adverse effects of global warming (Pittock 149). First, afforestation will aid absorb the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Secondly, the adoption of clean energy, such as solar energy, wind energy, and hydroelectric power (HEP) generation will decrease emission of carbon dioxide and methane gases into the atmosphere (Pittock 176- 180).

Works Cited

Pittock, Barrie A. Climate change: the science, impacts and solutions. Routledge,  2013.

Howarth, Robert W., Renee Santoro, and Anthony Ingraffea. “Methane and the greenhouse-gas

footprint of natural gas from shale formations.” Climatic Change 106.4 (2011): 679-690.

Vaidyanathan, Gayathri & ClimateWire. Leaky Methane Makes Natural Gas for Global

Warming. Scientific American. 26th June 2014.