Quantcast
Connect with us

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

Published

on

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

“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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

White House Counsel busted working to keep whistleblower report from Congress: report

Published

on

President Donald Trump's White House counsel has reportedly been personally involved in keeping Congress from reviewing a whistleblowing report involving Ukraine.

"The revelation that Trump pushed Zelensky to pursue the Biden probe, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, represents the most detailed account so far of the president’s conduct that prompted a U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower action against the president," The Washington Post reported Friday. "The disclosure comes amid new details about the White House’s role in preventing Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from complying with Congressional demands for the material in the complaint."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Watch Ex-CIA official break down the ‘three crimes’ Trump committed if Ukraine scandal is true

Published

on

President Donald Trump could be charged with committing three federal crimes if the whistleblower reports involving the White House seeking campaign interference from Ukraine are correct.

MSNBC "Deadline: White House" anchor Nicolle Wallace interviewed Jeremy Bash on Friday -- and worried about the safety of the whistleblower.

"The stakes could not be any higher, the risk to his career -- or her career -- and reputation and perhaps legal standing could not be any higher for this whistleblower. That's why we’re glad to be joined by national security analyst, former chief of staff of the CIA and Department of Defense, someone I wanted to talk to about this story all week, Jeremy Bash," Wallace said.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Ex-FBI official urges Trump whistleblower to call the Bureau and report a ‘crime’ occurred

Published

on

The whistleblower at the heart of President Donald Trump's scandal involving Ukraine and Rudy Giuliani may need to call the FBI and report a crime, a former top official at the Bureau explained on MSNBC on Friday.

Frank Figliuzzi, the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, was interviewed by MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Friday shortly after The Wall Street Journal published a bombshell report that Trump personally pressured Volodymyr Zelensky eight times to work with Giuliani for oppo research on Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Investigate and Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image