Renewable natural gas as a possible climate change solution

The Canadian government, along with the Quebec, Alberta and B.C. provincial governments, are investing in renewable natural gas pilot projects as a climate change solution. Renewable natural gas (RNG) is methane sourced from plant or animal sources, otherwise known as biomethane. Its rise as a climate solution is thanks to its carbon-neutral nature when it burns. Renewable natural gas captures methane from organic waste and converts it into water and carbon dioxide. While carbon dioxide is still a greenhouse gas, it has a much lower impact on the climate crisis than methane. But, RNG isn’t without its flaws. Gas infrastructure is notoriously “leaky.” If renewable natural gas escapes from a pipeline, methane will directly enter the atmosphere and RNG will no longer be carbon neutral. A 2020 study conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology found that RNG could in fact contribute to climate change due to high demand and methane leakage. But, Chris Bataille, a B.C.-based associate researcher with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) suggests that while RNG may not be a long-term solution for the climate crisis, it could offer a bridge from our current dependence on fossil fuels to a future carbon-neutral economy.

Photo by Matsou from Getty Images/Canva

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