September 29, 2022
Senior Fellow Deborah Gordon recently co-authored an article for Science Magazine titled, "Tackling Unlit and Inefficient Gas Flaring" that explains how emissions from flaring threaten the global climate and health of local communities.
Because of the outsized warming potential of methane, it is essential to limit this superpollutant to mitigate the worsening global climate emergency. More than 120 nations have signed the Global Methane Pledge to cut emissions by 30% by 2030. Some 80 oil and gas (O&G) companies have joined the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, which aims to establish a reporting framework for methane emissions, such as those from flaring—the practice of burning off unwanted gas. The World Bank has enlisted public and private stakeholders to commit to zero routine flaring by 2030. On page 1566 of this issue, Plant et al. report an average methane destruction removal efficiency of 87 to 94% by flaring in US-based O&G facilities. This number is much lower than what was previously assumed, and the authors attribute this to inefficient and unlit flares.