Methane and its impact on climate change

It is important to understand what methane is in order to understand its impact on climate change. Methane is a chemical compound made up of one atom of carbon and four atoms of hydrogen—its chemical formula being CH4. There is a lot of methane found on earth, which makes it a viable option to create fuel. Methane is the main element of natural gas. Methane is also one of the largest contributors to climate change. While carbon dioxide (CO2) is considered the leading cause of climate change thanks to burning fossil fuels and deforestation, methane still has an impact. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) states that methane emissions make up “about 25% of the manmade global warming that we are experiencing”. 

While there are some arguments about the largest source of methane emissions, many environmental organizations appear to agree that methane emissions largely come from oil and gas industries such as natural gas and petroleum systems. According the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2014 the United States consumed approximately 26.70 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas.