Climatic Change Letters will publish shortly a new paper from 3 professors at Cornell University that destroys the Howarth and Ingrafea paper that triggered false global headlines that gas was as dirty as coal. I have obtained a copy of the scorching paper, and a much milder summary of the paper is on the website of the Cornell Cooperative Extension. http://cce.Cornell.edu/EnergyClimateChange/NaturalGasDev/Documents/PDFs/FINAL%20Short%20Version%2010-4-11.pdf. Its principal author is Lawrence Cathales III of the Cornell Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Other authors are from the same department as well as from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
The paper itself is a scientific wrecking ball aimed right at the credibility of Howarth and Ingraffea that is sprinkled with sizzling commentary. For example, the paper itself says: "Switching from coal to natural gas would dramatically reduce the greenhouse impact of electricity generation. Minimizing this point by stressing extreme rather than likely scenarios is perhaps the most misleading aspect of the Howarth et al. analysis."
The Howarth paper is so full of false and misleading pieces that it is indeed difficult to pick its most misleading part. But the new Cornell paper does an excellent job of taking one on a tour of Howarth's malicious betrayal of the climate, the environment, and science.
The Cathales paper concludes that coal emits twice to three times more carbon than gas on a full life cycle analysis from production through combustion. This conclusion is similar to recent studies done by Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Maryland, the Worldwatch Institute, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Despite its junk science status, the Howarth paper continues to mislead good people, with Robert Kennedy recently approvingly relying on it and with it being prominently mentioned in a draft letter written by a prominent environmental group fighting drilling in the Delaware River Basin that sought the signatures of Pennsylvania state legislators.
The Howarth paper betrays the climate as surely as the climate denial industry. No environmentalist who cares about global warming or his or her credibility should ever mention it, except with disgust.
Howarth cares so much about banning shale gas that he has gone off the cliff into misinformation and propaganda. He has proven that he will say anything and use any means to advance his rabidly held end. The new Cornell paper ends the scientific credibility of Howarth and Ingraffea.
The questions now become: will all environmentalists shun the Howarth paper? And will the NYT and other media prominently report both on the scorching new Cornell paper when it is published and the present availability of the milder summary?