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EPA boosts estimate of U.S. methane emissions

Contributions from natural gas, oil and landfills rise

7:03pm, April 15, 2016

METHANE MISMATCH  A new report by the Environmental Protection Agency revises upward its estimates of U.S. methane emissions, such as those from natural gas wells, by more than 3.4 million metric tons. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, criticized for understating how much methane the United States spews into the atmosphere, has boosted its estimate of total U.S. methane emissions by 13 percent. That’s an increase of more than 3.4 million metric tons of the greenhouse gas and has the same long-term global warming impact as a year’s worth of emissions from about 20 million cars.

The new calculation, released in an EPA report April 15, revises the agency’s U.S. methane emission estimates for 2013 to 28.859 million metric tons, up from the agency’s previous estimate of 25.453 million metric tons. Two-thirds of that increase comes from the natural gas and petroleum sectors, with much of the rest coming from landfills. The report also provides the first estimate of methane emissions for 2014, a slight increase to 29.233 million metric tons.

Globally, methane emissions account for about a quarter of human-caused global warming. Several studies

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