Methane- the main component of natural gas- is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
How much more potent? That’s what the EPA is currently deciding as it updates its greenhouse gas reporting rule. And right now, they’re doing it wrong.
This matters because one of the main arguments for increased natural gas production is that it’s climate friendly. But actually, if you count methane emissions using the latest and best science, it’s not.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the folks who sounded the alarm on global warming in the first place – says that methane is 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide. That’s much greater than what EPA is proposing to use.
Better science leads to better reporting. Better reporting leads to better policy decisions… like not pushing natural gas as a climate cure-all.
To understand methane’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) see: What do leeches have to do with fracking and climate change?