Scientific American reports Is Natural Gas More Climate-Friendly? Researchers Map Thousands of Leaks in Washington, D.C.
"Bob Ackley may be the only person who has driven up and down every single street -- 1,500 miles total -- in Washington, D.C. While Ackley, a plain-speaking New Englander, enjoyed exploring the nation's capital, which he described as 'beautiful,' this was serious business. He was measuring leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is also the main component of natural gas. Measured in terms of warming the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide."
"Although the results for the District of Columbia are not final, preliminary numbers indicate that the nation's capital has thousands of leaks from its natural gas distribution system. It has a number of leaks per road mile similar to that of Boston, but has about twice as many miles of road, said Jackson. The district also appears to have bigger leaks than Boston's, he said. In Boston, the researchers counted 3,356 leaks. They also determined whether leaks were from natural gas pipes or more natural sources, such as landfills, where it is created by decaying garbage."