Double the Known Reserves
What might be surprising is its earthly abundance. Some geologists estimate that there is twice as much methane clathrate than all known oil, natural gas and coal reserves on earth.
The Methane Time Bomb
There is a downside to all of this stored energy. Methane is 20 times worse than CO2 as a global warming agent. The sudden release of natural gas in extraction processes from methane clathrate deposits has been pointed to by climate scientists as a major cause of past and possible future climate changes.
According to the Independent:
"Methane is about 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and many scientists fear that its release could accelerate global warming. . .The amount of methane stored beneath the Arctic is calculated to be greater than the total amount of carbon locked up in global coal reserves so there is intense interest in the stability of these deposits as the region warms at a faster rate than other places on earth."China Rolls the Dice
So, I was a bit concerned when I read that not only has China recently discovered land-based methane clathrate. . .but that they have plans to exploit it.
According to the People's Daily:
China will likely make a breakthrough in developing gas hydrates, which have been recently discovered on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Natural Gas Is the Only Choice
There is no doubt we are near or past peak oil. Nor is there any doubt that the only fiscally feasible solution for powering the globe is hydrocarbon based.
The new extracting methods for natural gas have added 58% to the known reserves in the U.S. Combustible ice would give the world 1,000 years of clean burning energy. It could potentially fill the gap oil will leave in a few decades' time. Oil won't last.