When we produce oil or fossil gas, we emit methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). A little, say the national emissions statistics. But already too much for the climate. Far too many, say researchers today, who consider the figures on the accounts to be largely underestimated.
Methane (CH4), as we now know, is a particularly potent greenhouse gas (GHG). It’s after carbon dioxidecarbon dioxide (CO2), the second largest contributor to global warming. Extraction and transport of oiloil and gasgas fossil is one of the main anthropogenic sources of CH4 in the air. And researchers from Princeton University (USA) now show that these activities can emit far more greenhouse gases than experts had previously imagined.
The researchers thus reveal that up to five times more methane is emitted during production offshoreoffshore of fossil oil and gas in the UK than what the government has reported. A declaration error which, according to them, is due to a bad calculation method. And since many countries use the same thing, the underestimation of emissionsemissions from CH4 probably not limited to UK.
Avoidable methane emissions
What the Princeton University researchers point to are emission factors – an estimate of the methane emissions associated with each activity – applied to oil or gas discovery, extraction and production offshore fossils. Some would be outdated or poorly adapted. Thus, they would not be sensitive to environmental conditions. And they don’t account for the very real leaks that occur when offshore rigs are idle.
Remember to durationduration relatively short lifetime of methane in the atmosphere and its strong ability to trap heatheat reduce our CH emissions4 one of the most effective ways to slow the rate of climate change. But previous work has already shown that reducing leakage in the oil and fossil gas supply chain can advance the goals while being economically viable. So much information to consider when preparing for the first one “world report” progress in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on weatherweather.