New Look at Old Study Offers Different Take on Methane Emissions From Gas Drilling

From CFR:
The ongoing fight over whether shale gas operations are leaking dangerous amounts of methane – a question that many have called critical to determining whether shale gas is good or bad – has suffered from a paucity of data. That’s why a much talked about study, authored by thirty scientists (mostly from NOAA) and published in early February, made such big waves: it was the first (and remains the only) study to estimate shockingly high emissions based on actual observations in the field (data was collected in Colorado in 2008).
In a new paper in press at the Journal of Geophysical Research (preprint here), the same journal that published the NOAA results, I explain why the NOAA estimates are unsupportable. (Short version: great data; wrong interpretation.) I then exploit some data that the NOAA team reported but did not use in their calculations to re-estimate methane leakage rates. I find methane leakage rates that are most likely between 1 and 2 percent, very similar to what previous careful estimates have consistently indicated, but far lower than the rates — as high as 7.7 percent — that the NOAA study claimed.
Read the rest of the article here.

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