... natural gas—93% of which is methane—has a far more potent greenhouse gas impact than burned coal or oil ... [emphasis mine]
Leakages of gas in production and distribution systems can lead to higher greenhouse gas levels than burning other fossil fuels like coal and oil.
Last week, investigators studying methane leakage levels in Manhattan reported alarming preliminary findings. The gas industry and Con Edison estimate 2.2% leakage in its distribution systems, and at leakage above 3.2%, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, natural gas ceases to have any climate advantage over other fossil fuels. But the study found an average cumulative leakage of over 5% in natural gas production and delivery. [emphasis mine]
Based on their sampling of 160 miles of Manhattan streets, “The methane leakage in the system serving NYC through ConEd is likely already at a level where the methane leaked has as much, or more, climate impact as the remaining approximately 95% of the gas that is actually usefully burned by consumers in NYC.”
Nice to know, but won't help. We do the heating and cooking with the gas from a field under the north part of the Netherlands. That area is slowly sinking and experiencing eartquakes as the gasfield is drained.
That is troubling news. Everything we do to the Earth has consequences.
It sounds like it is easy and fast enough to localize the leak. The EPA needs to fine the hell out of them for leaks. Through routine maintenance all leaks can be prevented. As it is now there's no need to repair leaks until they become fire, or explosion hazards.
If it isn't easy to locate and repair leaks, the lines should not be used. For planning new lines, I sure hope they have a plan.