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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another New Report Sounds Methane Alarm; Industry Pushes Back

A new study is once again sounding the alarm about methane emissions, singling out fossil fuel extraction as an offender whose significant contributions to the methane problem are being underestimated by the EPA.  Here is what the authors of the study have to say about their conclusions:
Significance
Successful regulation of greenhouse gas emissions requires knowledge of current methane emission sources. Existing state regulations in California and Massachusetts require ∼15% greenhouse gas emissions reductions from current levels by 2020. However, government estimates for total US methane emissions may be biased by 50%, and estimates of individual source sectors are even more uncertain. This study uses atmospheric methane observations to reduce this level of uncertainty. We find greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and fossil fuel extraction and processing (i.e., oil and/or natural gas) are likely a factor of two or greater than cited in existing studies. Effective national and state greenhouse gas reduction strategies may be difficult to develop without appropriate estimates of methane emissions from these source sectors.
You can read more here.

Energy in Depth was quick to respond to the report on behalf of the oil and gas industry, sharing three points in an effort to invalidate the study's conclusions.  Here is a portion of that response:
KEY FACT 1: Looks at old operating environment.
As Andy Revkin of the New York Times pointed out: “It’s important to note that the new study is a snapshot of conditions in 2007 and 2008, before concerns increased about the need for tighter standards for gas and oil drilling operations.” In the oil and gas industry, ignoring a half decade of research and innovation is almost comical, even more so because the researchers suggest that snapshot is somehow indicative of the current operating environment! 
You can read the rest of that article here. 

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