EPA greenhouse gas estimates show increase in methane

Methane emissions from oil and natural gas in the U.S. grew by 0.5 percent in 2017, according to new data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA’s latest draft greenhouse gas inventory released Tuesday found the second measured increase for the climate change-linked gas in two years.

The report tracks total annual U.S. emissions and removals by source, economic sector, and greenhouse gas going back to 1990.

The 2017 measure was the highest that methane emissions have been since 2014, according to EPA data.

In all sectors measured by the EPA, methane emissions rose 1.5 percent between 2016 and 2017, the agency reported.

ADVERTISEMENT
 

Environmentalists on Tuesday called the increase unacceptable.

“It's worth noting that year after year, we see a similar story. Emission estimates rise or fall by one percent or two, but overall methane emissions remain unacceptably high,” said Matt Watson, vice president of the energy program at the Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement.

A study by the American Geophysical Union released last week warned that methane reductions from the oil and gas industry were "essential" to meeting global climate goals.

Since taking office, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE has championed fossil fuel production. In his State of the Union speech last week, Trump boasted of “a revolution in American energy” that has led to historic energy export highs and economic growth.

In 2017, U.S. natural gas production increased 2.6 percent and crude production increased 5.9 percent. The U.S. last year also became the top global producer of oil and natural gas.

But that increase has come with emissions consequences.

The agency’s report found that in 2017 energy-related activities were the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S, accounting for 84 percent of emissions.

Nearly 97 percent of carbon dioxide and 44 percent of methane emissions come from energy production, the report found. The U.S. itself in 2016 contributed 15 percent of the world’s fossil fuel combusted carbon dioxide emissions.

"This annual report is prepared by EPA in collaboration with numerous experts from other federal agencies, state government authorities, research and academic institutions, and industry associations," an EPA spokesperson said in a statement.

The final EPA report is expected to be published by April 15, 2019