Measuring the Methane Leaks to the Air from Three Large Natural Gas Production Regions

In the coming years, humans will have choices to make about where we get the fuel that powers our lights for us to see at night, our stoves for our hot meals, our water heaters for our warm baths, and even our cars. These choices will affect the air we breathe: burning fuel often causes pollution, like the smog found in cities, and almost always leads to more greenhouse gases in the air. Smog and greenhouse gases affect the way the Earth cools itself. One choice we have today is: which fuel should we use for our power plants, coal or natural gas? In a recent study, my colleagues and I measured the greenhouse gas emissions from three of the largest natural gas fields in the United States. We found that using natural gas instead of coal to fuel power plants could lead to fewer greenhouse gases in the air.

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