Controlling CH4 emissions:



change is in the air

Pennsylvania is in the midst of an energy transformation, one that will continue to evolve in response to technology, economics, and deployment.

Our state has long served as an energy hub for the nation, generating tremendous economic growth as well as an equally sizable legacy of environmental cost. While some costs are easy to identify – streams stained with abandoned mine drainage or plumes of darkened clouds emitted from a stack – there are less apparent costs to account for – greenhouse gas emissions.

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These emissions are fundamentally altering our climate; the full extent of impacts to our health, economy, and environment will continue to accumulate in the years and decades to come. The full risk of these impacts, recognized even by military planners, calls for not only a full-scale reassessment of policy and business decision making with respect to energy, it also requires us to address immediate unfulfilled opportunities that are cost-effective.

At the top of that list of opportunities is reducing methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations.


change is opportunity


In the last ten years Pennsylvania has become the second largest producer of natural gas in the country. Fuel switching from coal to cheaper natural gas for power generation and heating has resulted in significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

That’s good news, and one of the main reasons why our state was already well on its way to meeting the short-term objectives of the Clean Power Plan, itself now under its own cloud of political posturing. The bad news is that emissions of methane – a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide – have been increasing in Pennsylvania in conjunction oil and gas production.

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change is win-win

But there is a silver lining: reducing methane emissions is cost-effective, technologically feasible, creates jobs, saves consumers money, and is already being done by industry in other states.

It’s both the “low hanging fruit” and “win-win” scenario often discussed when discussing environmental and energy policy. For natural gas to reach its true energy potential for Pennsylvania, methane emissions must be addressed.


See methane mitigation technologies in action, and meet the entrepreneurs who are using them to create wealth and improve efficiency

The Pennsylvania Legacies podcast takes you on a methane hunt through the streets of Pittsburgh in a modified Google Street View car

Research from the Environmental Defense Fund and policy statements from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council