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Study finds methane emissions may be five times higher than thought

September 30, 2022

The Hill:

Global emissions of methane from existing gas infrastructure may be up to five times higher than had been believed, a new study has found.

Existing measures to burn off the powerful greenhouse gas — which is dozens of times more potent than carbon dioxide — allow far more to slip by than had been believed, according to the paper published on Thursday in Science.

A bipartisan bill put forth on Wednesday by Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) and Sean Casten (D-Ill.) seeks to tackle the problem. The Methane Emissions Mitigation Research and Development Act “focuses our best and brightest at the Department of Energy on methane emissions, one of the most potent greenhouse gasses,” Meijer said in a statement. 

Among these tools are the suite of leak detection and repair (LDAR) technologies, which include the satellite tools that the Science team used to quantify the imperfect nature of venting and flaring, common features of natural gas drilling.

At times or in areas where there isn’t sufficient pipeline or storage for the quantities of natural gas being produced — sometimes as a byproduct of more lucrative oil — drilling operators “flare,” or burn off, the methane.

[Saul Elbein]

More: Study: Methane emissions may be five times higher than previously thought

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