Global growth in human-caused atmospheric methane gas emissions in the last decade is likely due largely to a 30% spike in emissions across the U.S., according to a study from Harvard University cited in The Guardian. While the study can’t conclusively identify specific sources, the research indicates that emissions increased most in the middle of the country at the same time as America’s oil and gas expansion.
According to the article, the U.S. government’s data on methane emissions is not consistent with observations made by Harvard and other universities and institutions. Harvard’s numbers, based on actual satellite measurements, show that U.S. methane emissions are far greater than those estimated by the government. Robert Howarth, a Cornell University ecologist and methane researcher not affiliated with the Harvard study, says he believes it is critical that the U.S. reduce natural gas use as quickly as possible or risk jeopardizing commitments made as part of the Paris climate agreement.
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