Arctic methane: Spend now, or risk paying later


July 26, 2013 

Arctic methane: Spend now, or risk paying later

Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Paulette Clancy, associate director of the Energy Institute at Cornell University and a fellow at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, comments the economic and environmental dilemma presented by the findings of this week’s study in the journal Nature that warned of a potential massive methane release as Arctic ice sheets recede.

Clancy says:

“The Nature article makes a valuable case: as the ice sheets recede, the methane and other trapped gases in hydrates will, for sure, be released into the atmosphere with severe environmental consequences.

“Hence the decision to try to harvest them has an added dimension: Do we pay the economically unattractive price now to recover the energy source, or wait for the economics to be attractive, by which time some of the resource is already lost to the atmosphere?

“It’s a crap shoot of time, money, technology, environmental protection and clean energy recovery.”

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