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EPA may have underestimated U.S. methane emissions by 50 percent

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U.S. emissions of methane — a potent greenhouse gas — could be significantly higher than indicated in estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new study published Monday.

The study found the EPA numbers could underestimate by as much as 50 percent the true amount of the gas being produced by the United States.

The most striking discrepancy, the researchers said, was in the oil-producing south-central United States, where their results were nearly three times higher than EPA estimates.

“It will be important to resolve that discrepancy in order to fully understand the impact of these industries on methane emissions,” said lead author Scot Miller, a doctoral student at Harvard University.

Methane is produced by livestock, landfills, coal mining, and natural gas production and distribution, among other natural and man-made activities, the authors explained, adding that humans are thought to contribute around 60 percent of the total.

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The researchers explained their figures differ from the government ones because of a difference in methodology.

The EPA, they explained, uses a “bottom-up” approach that multiplies amounts typically released, for example, by each cow, per unit of coal, or per unit of natural gas sold.

But in this new study, researchers took the opposite “top-down” approach, calculating how much methane is actually present in the atmosphere and then tracing it to its sources using meteorological and statistical analysis.

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“When we measure methane gas at the atmospheric level, we’re seeing the cumulative effect of emissions that are happening at the surface across a very large region,” said Steven Wofsy, a Harvard professor and co-author of the PNAS study.

“That includes the sources that were part of the bottom-up inventories, but maybe also things they didn’t think to measure,” he explained.

For the analysis, the researchers used observational data from 2007-2008, when the US sharply increased its natural gas production, and compared it with the EPA figures from the same period.

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They intend to repeat the analysis using present-day data.

“Now that we know the total does not equal the sum of the parts, that means that either some of those parts are not what we thought they were, or there are some parts that are simply missing from the inventories,” said co-author Anna Michalak of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

“It really offers an opportunity for governments to reexamine the inventories in light of what we now know.”

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Methane is the second-most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, emphasized the researchers, who also hailed from the University of Michigan, NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Italy, and the University of Colorado Boulder.

It traps 70 times more heat than CO2 in the atmosphere, but it only lasts 10 years in the atmosphere, compared to 100 years for carbon dioxide.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Stephen Colbert mocks Eric Trump in a way that must be seen to be believed

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Stephen Colbert mocked Eric Trump so badly it has to be seen to be believed.

The moment came after Colbert played a clip of the young Trump child saying that 95 percent of the United States supports him, the camera cut to Colbert doing his Eric impression.

"I've got big gums, and I cannot lie," Colbert said.

"Yeah, 95, guys, I'm tellin' ya," Colbert said, pretending to be Eric with his lips curled up.

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Black Pennsylvania Trump voter wonders if he’s still welcome in the GOP

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Tuesday, CNN released interviews with Texas Trump supporters who defended his racist attacks on four Congresswomen of color. Wednesday night, Van Jones showed his panel of supporters of both President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama. But things got tense when a Black Trump supporter was asked about the president's racially charged statements.

Two men, one white one Black, in the group said they supported Trump and probably would again because business was good. Two women in the group lamented that Trump's racism was hurtful for the country.

"I just go back to values," the older women said. "I value treating people with dignity. And if there is anything that is incongruent with those values, then I'm not for that. So I'm not going to put profit over my values."

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Don Lemon lists ‘manipulative garbage’ Trump uses to exploit his supporters’ ignorance

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CNN host Don Lemon thinks that President Donald Trump is using issues like race to manipulate his voters into voting against their own interest.

In his opening commentary, Lemon showed the clip of Trump's supporters chanting "send her back" at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who is a Somali immigrant who came to the U.S. when she was just 12 years old.

He then cited a tweet that Trump sent out earlier Wednesday.

"New Poll: The Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in predicting the 2016 Election, has just announced that "Trump" numbers have recently gone up by four points, to 50 percent. Thank you to the vicious young Socialist Congresswomen. America will never buy your act! #MAGA2020," Trump tweeted.

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