EPA underestimates methane emissions | Science News



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EPA underestimates methane emissions

Rising amounts of greenhouse gas missed by environmental agency’s methods

10:00am, April 14, 2016
gas well

MISSING METHANE  Environmental Protection Agency reports underestimate U.S. methane emissions, new studies show. That discrepancy could stem from a small number of methane sources such as leaky natural gas wells that release a disproportionate amount of the greenhouse gas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a methane problem — and that could misinform the country’s carbon-cutting plans. Recent studies suggest that the agency’s reports fail to capture the full scope of U.S. methane emissions, including “super emitters” that contribute a disproportionate share of methane release. Those EPA reports influence the country’s actions to combat climate change and the regulation of methane-producing industries such as agriculture and natural gas production.

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