INFOGRAPHIC: Methane Leaks and Fracking


Anti-fracking activists have tried for years to convince people that fugitive methane emissions cancel out the environmental benefits of natural gas.  But as EID’s latest infographic shows, not only are methane emissions from natural gas production low, they have dramatically decreased as natural gas production has soared.

That decrease in methane emissions can be seen clearly in the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory, which found that methane emissions fell 16.9 percent since 1990, with field production emissions falling more than 40 percent since 2006.  Further, EPA states that this decrease is “due to increased voluntary reductions” by oil and gas producers.

Last year, the University of Texas and the Environmental Defense Fund conducted a study using direct methane measurements from 190 natural gas well pads.  Based on the researchers’ data, the methane leakage rate is only about 1.5 percent, which is in line with EPA’s findings and well below what is needed for natural gas to maintain environmental benefits.

If that’s not enough, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has debunked anti-fracking activists’ methane claims.  As it found in its latest climate assessment, even “[t]aking into account revised estimates for fugitive [methane] emissions, recent lifecycle assessment indicate that specific GHG emission are reduced by one half” as more power plants are powered by natural gas.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that EPA administrator Gina McCarthy recently said, “Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change” or that Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said, “About half of that progress we have made [on greenhouse gas emissions] is from the natural-gas boom.”

But perhaps Berkeley professor Richard Muller put it best when he said, “Environmentalists who oppose the development of shale gas and fracking are making a tragic mistake.”

Check out EID’s new infographic – “Methane Leaks and Fracking: Myth vs. Fact” – to learn more.


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