Allen: Why we must reduce methane emissions – now

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By Greg Allen, Ottawa Citizen, November 17, 2017

Information leaks, whether true, false or misinterpreted, may have political fallout. But there are gas leaks occurring that have fatal consequences for civilization and the biosphere.

Methane levels in the atmosphere have risen faster than carbon dioxide over the last century. After a hiatus over the first decade of this century, the levels are rising again. Since this was coincident with widespread hydro-fracturing in North America, researchers have been focusing attention on determining how much these practices are contributing.

Studies from Harvard and Cornell universities and, close to home, Carleton, confirm that the gas industry’s estimates of fugitive methane that are used in federal greenhouse gas inventories, are way too low. One study, using satellite data, concludes that up to 60 per cent of the global methane increase is due to North American natural gas production. When upstream emissions are included, natural gas accounts for higher GHG emissions than all other fossil fuels.