Methane Controls Would Deliver Fast Climate Gains
Oil and gas operations around the world leaked 3.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2012, pointing to a major, short-term opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, concludes a new report by The Rhodium Group.
The uncontrolled releases wasted about 3% of total natural gas production that year and cost fossil fuel companies about $30 billion in revenue, Rhodium reports. And “because the primary component of natural gas, methane, is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, methane leakage has important climate implications,” write report authors Kate Larsen, Michael Delgado, and Peter Marsters.
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Cutting that waste 50% below 2012 levels by 2030 would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 700 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide.
Russia accounted for 23% of global methane emissions in 2012, followed by the United States at 11%, Uzbekistan at 5.8%, and Canada at 3.2%.
“Due to methane’s short-term climate impact, reduction of methane leakage today can deliver immediate climate benefits while nations pursue longer-term strategies to reduce CO2,” Rhodium concluded. And “unless methane emissions are taken into account, the overall GHG benefits of natural gas will be overestimated.” (h/t to The Energy Mix subscriber Chris Wood for pointing us to this story)