Researchers at SEAS find EPA underestimates methane emissions from oil and gas production
By Leah Burrows, SEAS Communications
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas production in its annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, according to new research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The research team found 90 percent higher emissions from oil production and 50 percent higher emissions for natural gas production than EPA estimated in its latest inventory.
The paper is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
The research team, led by Joannes Maasakkers, a former graduate student at SEAS, developed a method to trace and map total emissions from satellite data to their source on the ground.
“This is the first country-wide evaluation of the emissions that the EPA reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” said Maasakkers, who is currently a scientist at the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research.