Methane emissions from oil and gas exploration wildly overestimated in “scientific” studies, new report finds
06/03/2019 // Tracey Watson // Views

Methane is one of the primary components in natural gas, a common source of fuel in the United States. Science tells us that when methane leaks into the air it absorbs heat from the sun, warming the atmosphere. Theoretically this means that methane released into the atmosphere through natural gas exploration could be a contributing factor to global warming.

For this reason, climate change alarmists have been extremely interested in measuring the amount of methane released into the air, and several studies have contended that alarming amounts of methane are being pumped into the atmosphere through oil and gas exploration. In fact, based on these studies, experts have claimed that 25 percent of “man-made” global warming is directly attributable to this process. It is important to note, however, that these studies have not been based on physical measurements, but on mathematical projections.

Now, as reported by Big League Politics, a study conducted by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado Boulder, based on physical measurements of methane levels in the atmosphere, has found that despite large increases in energy production over the past 10 years, methane emissions from drilling have increased only very slightly. The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in April this year. (Related: Global Warming - man made or nature? Does it matter?)

Flawed projections fuel global warming hysteria

To reach their conclusions, the team analyzed physical methane (CH4) measurements taken in 20 different locations in North America, as recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. They then used these measurements to determine the overall trend for the period 2006 to 2015.


Their conclusion? The study introduction notes:

[W]e find no significant increase in emissions at most sites and modest increases at three sites heavily influenced by ONG activities. Our estimated increases in North American ONG CH4 emissions (on average approximately 3.4 ± 1.4 %/year for 2006–2015, ±?) are much smaller than estimates from some previous studies and below our detection threshold for total emissions increases at the east coast sites that are sensitive to U.S. outflows. We also find an increasing trend in ethane/methane emission ratios, which has resulted in major overestimation of oil and gas emissions trends in some previous studies[Emphasis added]

In a press release regarding the study’s findings, main author Xin Lan noted, “What this means is if you want to track methane, you have to measure methane.”

In other words: Stop hyping up global warming hysteria by creating complicated (and flawed) mathematical equations to project methane emissions and start physically measuring them instead.

Energy in Depth, a project by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, reported that in the period between 1990 and 2017, natural gas production increased by 51 percent, while oil production rose a whopping 80 percent. During that same time period, however, methane emissions from oil and gas only rose by 14 percent. (Related: Researchers discover massive methane 'fountains' in arctic ice - a genuine threat to the atmosphere?)

Study findings too late to halt SB 181

Unfortunately, the study’s findings were released only after the passage of Colorado Senate Bill 181.

Big League Politics reported:

Under SB 181, local municipalities and Colorado’s Oil & Gas Commission will have more flexibility in micro-managing the oil and gas industry. Communities can now invent ways to impede drilling and other mineral extraction methods from taking place within their jurisdictions.

If global warming disciples are going to use “science” to back their claims they need to make sure that their studies can stand up to scrutiny. Perhaps they should go back to science 101 and start taking actual measurements before making claims they can’t back up, resulting in legislation that negatively impacts the economy and daily lives of the American people.

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