EPA report that lowers methane-leak estimates further divides fracking camps
The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?
The new EPA data is “kind of an earthquake” in the debate over drilling, said Michael Shellenberger, the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental group based in Oakland, Calif. “This is great news for anybody concerned about the climate and strong proof that existing technologies can be deployed to reduce methane leaks.”
The scope of the EPA’s revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That’s about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates.
Experts on both sides of the debate say the leaks can be controlled by fixes such as better gaskets, maintenance and monitoring. Such fixes are also thought to be cost-effective, since the industry ends up with more product to sell.
Dans les prochains jours, surveillez bien la visibilité de cette étude extrêmement importante dans les médias québécois… À cause de notre unilinguisme, parions que bien peu de Québécois vont apprendre que l’extraction des gaz de schiste est encore plus sécuritaire qu’on le croyait au départ.