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Nature. 2005 Apr 14;434(7035):841-2.

Greenhouse gases: low methane leakage from gas pipelines.

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Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.


Using natural gas for fuel releases less carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than burning oil or coal, but its production and transport are accompanied by emissions of methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in the short term. This calls into question whether climate forcing could be reduced by switching from coal and oil to natural gas. We have made measurements in Russia along the world's largest gas-transport system and find that methane leakage is in the region of 1.4%, which is considerably less than expected and comparable to that from systems in the United States. Our calculations indicate that using natural gas in preference to other fossil fuels could be useful in the short term for mitigating climate change.

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