Ed Cross recent article (Low crude prices not long-term story, trend) provided some outdated data on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. He said, according to the EPA, methane emissions from the oil and gas sector have fallen by 38 percent since 2005, including a 73 percent drop in methane emissions from wells since 2011. On April 15, of this year, the EPA admitted that it had been underestimating methane emissions (http://tinyurl.com/go3g75m). In the EPAs most-recent annual report on greenhouse gas emissions (http://tinyurl.com/jg8mhya), methane emissions from the oil and gas sector actually increased 8 percent between 2005 and 2014. Since 2011, methane emissions from natural-gas production have increased slightly (0.2%).
These upward trends in methane emissions may seem insignificant, but the EPAs revisions show that methane emissions from natural gas production are actually more than double what was previously thought. Natural gas production emits 54% of all methane generated by the U.S. energy sector. The energy sector, in turn, emits one third of all methane in the U.S., more than any other economic sector. Although methane is less persistent in the atmosphere, methane has 25 times more Global Warming Potential than CO2.
The increased methane emissions from natural-gas production show that the industry has been telling us only part of the story about its environmental stewardship. I dont dispute the economic impact of the oil and gas industry on our economy from the local to the international level; however, we should consider its economic and environmental costs more thoroughly. If we do, we may find that the Carbon Fee and Dividend, a market-based approach, is the best, and fairest way, to transition our fossil fuel-based economy to one based on renewables(http://tinyurl.com/CarbonFeeDividend).