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US energy industry gas leaks are triple the official figures, study finds

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A new study reveals that U.S. oil and natural gas operations are releasing methane at triple the amount previously estimated by the government, amounting to 3% of produced gas and causing an annual $9.3 billion in climate damage
• This discrepancy highlights a significant opportunity for emission reduction if targeted efforts are made to control leaks from the highest-emitting sites

🔭 The context: The study, published in the journal Nature, utilized over 1 million anonymized aircraft measurements covering a substantial portion of U.S. oil wells and gas production systems
• It identified that a small fraction of sites, 1% or less, are responsible for over half of the methane emissions, suggesting a focused solution could significantly mitigate the issue

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, contributes substantially to global warming, with about 30% of the warming since preindustrial times attributed to methane emissions
• The U.S. leads in oil and gas production methane emissions, underscoring the importance of addressing these leaks for global climate goals

⏭️ What's next: Recent actions, including new regulations from the Biden administration and international pledges to reduce methane emissions, signal progress
• Monitoring technologies like the MethaneSat satellite offer further tools for identifying and addressing emissions sources, providing a path toward significant climate impact reduction

💬 One quote: "This is really an opportunity to cut emissions quite rapidly with targeted efforts at these highest-emitting sites," said lead author Evan Sherwin.

📈 One stat: The leaked methane, about 3% of the U.S. gas produced, translates into a significant economic loss, estimated at $1 billion annually, in addition to its environmental impact.

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