A recent Environmental Defense Fund report suggests cutting methane leaks is a simple and cost-effective way to fight climate change, according to the New York Times. Rhodium Group, the organization that conducted the study, found that nearly 4 trillion cubic feet of methane leaked into the atmosphere in 2012. Natural gas is mostly comprised of methane, which is also a dominant greenhouse gas.
Natural gas produces 50 percent less carbon dioxide than coal when burned as fuel, but when methane is released into the atmosphere, its temporary climate effects are harsher than carbon dioxide’s. Rhodium’s research indicates leak prevention could cut 40 percent of methane emissions for only 1 cent per 1,000 cubic feet. The group also warns that unless the leaks are stopped, methane emissions are projected to increase 23 percent by 2030.