The US oil and gas industry leaks 60 percent more methane than official government estimates, a report said Thursday, warning of this potent greenhouse gas’s effect on the environment.
US industry emits some 13 million metric tons each year, far more than the amount estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the findings published in the journal Science.
Researchers said the actual leak rate of 2.3 percent — compared to EPA inventory estimates of 1.4 percent — represents enough natural gas to fuel 10 million homes.
The dollar value of the lost gas amounts to $2 billion, said the report compiled by more than 140 researchers, in cooperation with 50 oil and gas companies that provided site access and technical advice.
“Scientists have uncovered a huge problem, but also an enormous opportunity,” said co-author Steven Hamburg, chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund.
“Reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is the fastest, most cost effective way we have to slow the rate of warming today, even as the larger transition to lower-carbon energy continues.”
Methane is the main ingredient in natural gas, and packs more than 80 times the climate warming impact of carbon dioxide over a 20-year timespan, experts say.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that emits less carbon dioxide than oil or coal, but its efficiency depends a lot on keeping methane leaks to a minimum.
Some oil giants have already begun to recognize the problem and take action.
BP sets its first methane target in April, and ExxonMobil committed in May to cut methane emissions. Shell and Qatar Petroleum have also committed to cutting methane emissions.
Researchers said the reason for the discrepancy between US government estimates and actual emissions “is likely a result of existing inventory methods not capturing methane emissions that occur during abnormal operating conditions, like malfunctions.”
Melania Trump ripped for bragging about helping children while her husband runs concentration camps for kids
Melania Trump was ripped on Monday for pushing her signature "Be Best" campaign against bullying while her husband, President Donald Trump, runs concentration camps for children along the southern border.
"Looking forward to collaborating with all of our #BeBest Ambassadors. Delighted to be working alongside so many people both inside and outside of government to better the lives of children everywhere!" Melania Trump tweeted Monday.
The response was some of the harshest since she wore an "I Don't Care" jacked to visit the border.
Border Patrol blocking Americans from donating toothbrushes and diapers for detained children
On Sunday, Austin Savage and five of his friends huddled into an SUV and went to an El Paso Target, loading up on diapers, wipes, soaps and toys.
About $340 later, the group headed to a Border Patrol facility holding migrant children in nearby Clint with the goal of donating their goods. Savage said he and his friends had read an article from The New York Times detailing chaos, sickness and filth in the overcrowded facility, and they wanted to help.
But when they arrived, they found that the lobby was closed. The few Border Patrol agents — Savage said there were between eight and 10 of them — moving in and out of a parking facility ignored them.
Michael Flynn’s legal team is making bizarre moves — signaling he’s still hoping for a Trump pardon
When disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn recently hired a new firebrand lawyer, Sidney Powell, it suggested he could be maneuvering to change his legal strategy.
And on Monday, new signs emerged that his legal team is looking to shake things up. Flynn had another status hearing on Monday before Judge Emmet Sullivan as he awaits sentencing for charges brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In the hearing on Monday, Powell, who had been publicly critical of the Russia investigation before joining Flynn’s team, requested a security clearance to review documents in the case. This was a surprising move, because the government said that there was no classified information in the documents it had turned over to the defense.