Methane Emissions Are Risky Business
I came to Environmental Defense Fund from the management consulting world, and was fortunate to bring a couple of lessons with me. A simple one is that successful companies keep a finger on the pulse of the returns and risks in their industry and core businesses. The oil and gas industry has a growing risk on its hands, and that risk is methane emissions.
Study after scientific study has shown that methane emissions from oil and gas are a leading source of that powerful greenhouse gas. At more than 100x the climate impact of carbon dioxide when it is first released, methane is a supercharged contributor to climate change.
Methane escapes into the atmosphere from oil and gas production wells and associated equipment, gas compressors, and many other sources. Every ton of methane pollution is resources being wasted. Every ton contributes to an unstable climate in our lifetimes.
And because methane pollution sometimes escapes with gases like volatile organic compounds and hazardous pollutants, there can be risk to people’s health in nearby communities when oil and gas emissions are haphazardly released into the air.
Americans are taking note. Methane is becoming a pressing “above ground risk”, a threat to the reputation, license to operate, and long term viability of an entire industry.