The Natural Gas Industry Has a Leak Problem

The Natural Gas Industry Has a Leak Problem

SOURCE: New York Times and Science DATE: June 21, 2018 SNIP: The American oil and gas industry is leaking more methane than the government thinks — much more, a new study says. Since methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, that is bad news for climate change. The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, puts the rate of methane emissions from domestic oil and gas operations at 2.3 percent of total production per year, which is 60 percent higher than the current estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency. That might seem like a small fraction of the total, but it represents an estimated 13 million metric tons lost each year, or enough natural gas to fuel 10 million homes. Environmental groups have argued that voluntary measures are not always sufficient, and they have urged federal regulators to step in and mandate more sweeping reductions. Former President Barack Obama proposed regulations to limit leaks, but over the past year, the Trump administration has moved to rescind most Obama-era methane policies. Some of these rollbacks are now tied up in...
Natural gas has no climate benefit and may make things worse

Natural gas has no climate benefit and may make things worse

SOURCE: Think Progress and The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and CEMUS (PDF) DATE: November 13, 2017 SNIP: The evidence is overwhelming that natural gas has no net climate benefit in any timescale that matters to humanity. In fact, a shocking new study concludes that just the methane emissions escaping from New Mexico’s gas and oil industry are “equivalent to the climate impact of approximately 12 coal-fired power plants.” If the goal is to avoid catastrophic levels of warming, a recent report by U.K. climate researchers finds “categorically no role” to play for new natural gas production. Back in 2014, a comprehensive Stanford study published in Science concluded “A review of more than 200 earlier studies confirms that U.S. emissions of methane are considerably higher than official estimates. Leaks from the nation’s natural gas system are an important part of the problem.” The Stanford analysis found a leakage rate of 5.4 percent (plus or minus 1.8 percent) — enough to give natural gas no net climate benefit for decades, even if it only replaced coal (which it doesn’t). These conclusions have been confirmed by data and observations from a later 2014 study as well as 2016 satellite data and surface observations analyzed by Harvard researchers. Certainly there is not complete agreement between every study, but there is little doubt that U.S. methane leakage rates are considerably higher than the official numbers from the EPA, which themselves are mostly based on industry-provided estimates, not actual...