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Methane emissions may be far higher than estimated

Discrepancies in calculations linked to fossil fuel production, cattle farming

BIG BELCHER  Natural gas production facilities like the one shown may leak substantially more methane than the EPA estimates, according to a new study.

The United States emits far more methane than government estimates indicate, according to new research published November 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the study, researchers calculate that the United States released 44.5 billion kilograms of methane in 2008, which is more than 1.5 times higher than estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union. That gap is the result of errors in how EPA and the EU estimate methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and cows, the team says.

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