Energy & Environment

Energy methane emissions higher than reported, international agency says

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Countries are undercounting emissions of a powerful planet-warming gas called methane from their energy sectors, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

The organization said it based estimates of the emissions from fuels including oil, gas and coal on scientific studies and measurement campaigns. 

It found that emissions of the greenhouse gas globally are about 70 percent higher than the sum of the estimates submitted by national governments to the United Nations. 

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period and significantly more powerful in the short term. 

Since it’s a relatively short-lived gas, many advocates have said cutting it would be a particularly effective way to mitigate shorter-term warming. 

The IEA also provided regional estimates, showing that North America undercounted by about 33 percent while the Asia-Pacific region uncounted by about 26 percent.

Meanwhile, the Russia and Caspian region undercounted by about 55 percent and the Middle East undercounted by about 83 percent. 

The IEA was originally created in the 1970s to coordinate responses to oil supply disruptions, but now frequently analyzes a range of energy-related issues. 

Meanwhile, countries report their emissions to the United Nations as part of the Paris Agreement, a global attempt to limit climate change. 

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