Methane hydrates : a pandora’s box ?


Burning iceAs Japan is working on exploiting one day methane hydrates, I thought it would be appropriate for me to present you an article on this dirty and unconventional fossil fuel which is also referred to as burning ice.

As I noted in a draft a while back : « Science without conscience is but ruin of the soul » the French philosopher Rabelais stated in the XVIth century. This is what crossed my mind as I was reading last week an article on methane hydrates.

To Science et Vie, there is twice the amount of these fossil fuels than there is of oil, natural gas and coal combined.

Unleashing such an amount of greenhouse gases emissions would sure blow our ecosystems up. Unless we already did, that is…

At a time of high oil prices – and the threat of much higher ones – the idea is sure tempting. Having huge quantities of energy at the ready is our dream. But harnessing methane hydrates would prove to be very damaging to the environment and very costly.

Indeed, those large amounts are buried very very deep under the oceans. I truly believe we should focus instead on energy efficiency and renewables. These are already working solutions. Furthermore, they are getting cheaper and cheaper..

Read out more on methane hydrates in this excellent article from Grist.

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