Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cornell Profs Smackdown Howarth For Second Time

The Cornell research team led by Professor Cathles just took Professor Howarth to the academic woodshed for a second time.  The most recent debunking of Howarth is full of data, and reading it is mandatory.

For me the single most important point in Cathles piece is the new data about leakage rates and specifically venting at 1578 unconventional gas wells.  Contrary to Howarth's assumption that venting during well completion takes place at 100% of uncoventional wells, the 1578 well data set showed 3% of wells were vented.

Cathles' latest paper further isolates Howarth who stands alone in the science literature.  Beyond the leakage rates that Howarth manufactures with wild assumptions and extrapolations, Howarth alone believes using a 20-year global warming potential factor when performing a coal and gas life cycle analysis is appropriate.

Howarth alone believes it is appropriate to end the life cycle analysis before coal and gas is combusted at an electricity plant.  Virtually all coal is used to make electricity.  It is impossible to calculate fairly the "life cycle" emissions of coal without including the emissions of when coal is actually burnt and that takes place nearly always at a power plant.  

But Howarth alone stops his analysis before coal is burnt. This point alone is enough to discredit entirely Howarth's analysis.

The deception in the Howarth analysis is not restricted to its failure to include emissions after coal and gas are used to make power.  Take a look at Cathles ending segment entitled, "Setting The Record Straight."  

Strong language will be found there like: "Their distortion of this statement is, once again, simply misleading and disingenuous."  That sentence is a good summary of Howarth's study.

1 comment:

  1. Concerned ScientistMarch 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Cathles et al really let it rip in this one. Wow. I hadn't realized that they had compared on heat vs electricity produced. What a cheap trick.

    Got to be some interesting lunches in the faculty club