Planet-warming methane leaking at higher rate, study finds

Federal regulators are missing about 14 million metric tons of greenhouse gas in their annual inventory, most of which likely comes from the nation's growing natural gas industry, according to a new study.But despite the higher estimate of methane leakage, switching from coal to the cleaner-burning fuel makes long-term sense for reducing greenhouse gases linked to climate change, according to an analysis of data in 200 studies, published online Thursday in the journal Science.

“While we believe the leakage rates are likely higher than official estimates, they’re unlikely to be high enough to disfavor shifting from coal to natural gas,” said the study’s lead author, Adam R. Brandt, an energy resource engineer at Stanford University.

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