EPA Moves To Cut Methane Emissions — But What Will It Accomplish?

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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President Barack Obama, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in tow, announced Thursday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will now move to squelch methane emissions from existing oil and gas facilities.

The new rule allows the U.S. and Canada to slash methane emissions from fossil fuels between 40 percent and 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025.

Critics consider the new rule, as well as any rule limiting methane emissions from fossil fuels, a futile effort at choking out a gas that contributes little to so-called man-made global warming.

Methane emissions constitute only 10 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.

And Steve Everley, a spokesperson with Energy In Depth (EID), noted on the EID website that total greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 were about 6,811.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Methane emissions from oil and other fossil fuels, therefore, account for slightly more than three percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Everley’s calculations show the rule will eventually shave 0.004 degrees Celsius off global warming by 2100.

The overarching regulation will be added to the EPA’s growing list of rules, as the agency continues to work on plans to cut methane emissions from newly developed oil and gas wells.

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