New U.S. regulations could reduce methane emissions from natural gas fracking by 42-48%, preventing the release of 3.2 to 3.7 million tonnes of the potent greenhouse gas per year, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Clean Air Task Force.
“Over a two-decade time frame, this would be equivalent to preventing more than 320 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year,” Climate Progress reports.
Although methane is shorter-lived than carbon dioxide, it is 36 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere, 87 times more effective in the first 20 years. So controlling methane “is the most significant, most cost-effective thing the administration can do to tackle climate change pollution that it hasn’t already committed to do,” said NRDC’s David Doniger.
“Along with cutting carbon pollution from power plants and vehicles, these practical steps are the one-two punch we need to stave off the worst effects of a disrupted climate.”