Methane in the News: How does methane affect our climate change policies?

Recently in the news there has been quite a bit of discussion about methane emissions and their effect on climate change. The Obama administration has been focusing its efforts to reduce methane emissions in order to reduce its effects on climate change. The plan is called President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Many environmental agencies are now using key elements of this plan to help reduce climate change. This week the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also announced that they will help prevent methane pollution by reducing the waste made through natural gas processing. The new mandate would prevent natural gas emissions from drilling, venting, flaring, leaking, pneumatic devices, and equipment upgrades.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), methane is the “second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities”, accounting for as much as 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is important that plans such as the plan proposed by the Bureau of Land Management take effect, and that bureaus and agencies make effort in this reduction. While some argue that these plans will place a burden on taxpayers, Western Values Project reports that taxpayers are actually losing more money without the new policy; in the next decade an estimated $800 million is lost without the new regulations set in place. It could also have a significant impact on methane emissions. The U.S. Department of Interior estimates that it could reduce methane emissions up to 169,000 tons per year. This reduction of methane emissions is just one small step to fighting climate change.