China, India Are Rich in 'Crystal Gas'

Frozen methane stash could feed growing energy appetites
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 3:41 PM CST
A Chinese man pushes a cart across a traffic where vehicles wait to cross in Beijing, China, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007. Developing countries led by China squabbled with the West over mandatory emission cuts...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The discovery of a massive store of frozen methane on the seabed off the coast of China may help the world's fastest growing nation keep up with its accelerating energy needs.
Methane hydrate, also known as crystal gas, is frozen and yet flammable, and it could mean a breakthrough for India, South Korea and Taiwan—all of which have booming economies—as well, Der Spiegel writes.

But scientists fear frozen methane will exacerbate global warming faster than other fossil fuels—a worry some Chinese and Indian scientists consider the West's attempt to impede their progress. Meanwhile, researchers are working to develop a method for using carbon dioxide to extract frozen methane that would yield energy and dispose of unwanted greenhouse gases.