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Study shows U.S. Methane Emissions Flat since 2006 Despite Increased Natural Gas Production


A new study from ESRL/GMD (partly supported by CPO’s AC4 program) shows that despite a 46 percent increase in natural gas production in the United States since 2006, there has been no significant increase of total U.S. methane emissions.

This robust finding relies on accurate long term measurements from NOAA’s Greenhouse Gas Reference Network maintained by ESRL/GMD. Previous estimates that suggested U.S. methane emissions were increasing relied on proxies, such as ethane-methane ratios. Now, researchers are noting that this ratio varies in natural gas produced by different oil and gas regions.

“What this means is if you want to track methane, you have to measure methane,” said lead author Xin Lan.

The study represents an important finding for the U.S. methane budget, with implications for the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.


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