Methane and climate change
Nations around the world are joining a pledge to curb emissions of methane, and the Biden administration is proposing stricter regulation of the potent greenhouse gas. Explore Stanford research about methane emissions and promising solutions.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas at the center of new rules and initiatives proposed at a major U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
While carbon dioxide is more abundant and longer-lived, methane – the main component of natural gas – is far more effective at trapping heat while it lasts. Over the first two decades after its release, methane is more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of warming the climate system.
Stanford-led research shows global emissions of methane from human activities have barreled upward in recent decades, with fossil fuel sources and agriculture powering the climb. Other studies have shown how how to improve estimates of methane leaking from oil and gas operations, outlined a process for converting the gas into carbon dioxide, and highlighted the climate impact of oilfields that routinely burn, or flare, natural gas.
This collection features recent research and insights from Stanford experts on methane emissions and climate change.
A better way to track methane in the skies?
Several studies have found that the EPA underestimates the amount of methane leaking from U.S. oil and gas operations by as much as half. A new Stanford-led study shows how better data can lead to more accurate estimates and points to some of the causes of the EPA’s undercount.
August 9, 2021
Methane from food production could be wildcard in combating climate change
Possible solutions for reducing methane emissions from agriculture include breeding rice to require less flooding, altering feed for livestock, promoting less meat-intensive diets and deploying more farm bio-digesters.
December 11, 2016
Study of abandoned oil and gas wells reveals new ways of identifying and fixing the worst methane emitters
New research finds far more abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania than previously thought and provides a framework for identifying wells across the United States and globally that are the worst methane leakers.
November 14, 2016