Methane leaks from natural gas questions its “clean fuel” status


In Washington, D.C., the World Gas Conference was held recently where natural gas companies like Total SA said natural gas is a solution for climate change. However, a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature said methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas industry at about 13 million metric tons per year, 60 percent higher than the official U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate. Carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. energy sources, meanwhile, are around 5 billion tons, according to Reuters.

As the world’s top natural gas producer, the U.S. and growing exporter, scientists say methane emissions are increasing. According to Reuters, “While methane emissions are relatively small compared to carbon dioxide, they are a major force in short-term global warming. Scientists say methane can trap more than 80 times more heat than carbon in the first 20 years after escaping into the atmosphere.”