A new study from the University of Rochester suggests estimates about the role of human activity in climate-altering methane emissions — which are more potent than carbon emissions and responsible for a quarter of global heating — have traditionally fallen somewhere between 25 and 40 percent short.
Published in Nature, the study says past monitoring efforts looked too far back in time to get an accurate read on whether the emissions came from natural, geological sources or from human activity, namely oil and gas companies. To get a better sense of the actual figures from the pre-industrial era 300 years ago, the Rochester team analyzed air from that period trapped in glaciers in Greenland. They determined previous findings had significantly overestimated the share of naturally released fossil methane, which would mean humanity's role has been downplayed.
Dave Ray, the executive director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, told The Guardian fossil fuel extraction, including fracking, "was a major part of global methane emissions, but this impressive study suggests it is a far bigger culprit in human-induced climate change than we had ever thought." Read more at The Guardian.
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