Fracking is at the forefront of the climate change debate
at the moment, as it literally shoves the issue into your face,
especially if you happen to live near a rig. This is likely to
become increasingly common, with many proposed and granted sites in the
pipeline (see map here).
Of course, the industry says it has the best of intentions, and that
fracking is actually beneficial for the climate, as it emits less
carbon dioxide than coal. The problem is fugitive emissions:
because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, if even a small quantity
leaks into the atmosphere - around 3% -
shale gas is worse than coal. This finding is neatly illustrated in
a figure published in a visualisation from a debate in Nature.