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Guillaume Albasini

Human-caused emissions of methane may have been “severely underestimated”

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Human-caused emissions of methane from the extraction and use of fossil fuels may have been “severely underestimated”, a new study suggests.

The research indicates that “natural” emissions of fossil methane, that seep out of deeply-held reserves, make up a much smaller fraction of total methane emissions than previously thought.

This means that the levels of fossil methane in the atmosphere are likely being driven by the methane escaping as coal, oil and natural gas are mined, drilled and transported.

The implication is that methane emissions from fossil fuels are 25-40% higher than earlier estimates suggest, the lead researcher tells Carbon Brief.

The findings indicate that “the fossil-fuel industry is likely responsible for an even larger proportion of recent climate change than we previously thought”, a scientist not involved in the study tells Carbon Brief. However, there is also “greater opportunity” to cut emissions, she says, through “fixing leaks in natural gas extraction and distribution networks”.


Full Carbon Brief article :

Abstract of the scientific paper

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