The United States is now the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world, and developing these cleaner-burning fuel sources to light and heat American homes and businesses is crucial to the President’s energy strategy. But while these important energy sources produce less carbon pollution overall, methane leaks throughout the oil and gas system are fueling climate change — and wasting valuable fuel that should be captured and used.
Methane — the primary component of natural gas and the third-largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — is a potent climate pollutant, trapping 25 times as much heat as carbon pollution over the course of a century. The good news is emissions from the oil and gas sector are down 16 percent since 1990. However, without additional action, emissions from this sector are projected to rise more than 25 percent by 2025.
That’s why, today, the Obama administration is announcing an ambitious new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. Achieving this goal would save up to 180 billion cubic feet of wasted natural gas in 2025 — enough to heat more than 2 million homes for an entire year.