It’s time to set targets for methane levels

The OlympianDecember 5, 2013 

A new study on the release of methane gas from livestock feedlots, and oil and gas developments has raised questions about a report from the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year. The Obama administration should order a comprehensive investigation.

Scientists say methane gas traps more heat within the Earth’s atmosphere than equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide and thus has greater potential to accelerate climate change.

The EPA report said methane gas emissions were declining as a result of pollution control measures implemented by the oil and gas industry. But a recent study by a Harvard doctoral student and researchers at seven other universities found methane levels were 2.7 times higher than the EPA estimates.

There is no national standard for methane emissions. Each state sets its own limits. The president should order the EPA to confirm or deny the new findings and then act quickly to set methane emission targets.

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