The Obama Administration has unveiled new plans to cut methane involving oil and gas production, landfills, and cattle. Targeting methane makes sense: it is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
Policies to capture methane from oil and gas production are particularly timely given the current natural gas boom. A recent study shows a large increase in methane release — with methane levels over Texas as the highest of any state. The Japanese are also developing technologies to use methane hydrate which also may result in increased methane release.
Cows are a major source of methane, both from manure and flatulance. HP researchers propose putting data centers near cow farms to use methane to power the center. Others propose switching away from beef to other sources of protein, including rabbit production and kangaroo.
Methane is the classic bad news, good news story. It is really bad for the environment. It is also a really good energy source. Through better capture and reuse, we can avoid the problems and enjoy the benefits of methane.