This commentary originally appeared on our EDF Voices blog.
Earlier this week, a prestigious scientific journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published “Measurements of methane emissions at natural gas production sites in the United States.” This study is the first in a comprehensive research initiative that Environmental Defense Fund is helping to produce with more than 90 partner universities, scientists, research facilities and natural gas industry companies. This effort, the largest scientific undertaking in EDF’s history, is an unprecedented attempt to measure where and how much methane is being released across the entire natural gas supply chain.
By the time the work is finished, around the end of 2014, scientists working with EDF will have completed sixteen studies characterizing methane emissions in five key areas of the natural gas system: production, gathering and processing,transmission and storage, local distribution and use in operating and fueling heavy and medium weight trucks.
The study that published Monday was led by Dr. David Allen of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and is based on some of the first-ever direct measurements of methane emissions from shale gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”