Methane is the major constituent of natural gas. Methane is a potent green house gas which contributes significantly to global warming. It is produced naturally by decaying vegetation and escapes in substantial quantities from oil and gas production. Vegetation which has been frozen in permafrost may produce methane when it thaws. Herbivores may produce methane during digestion of vegetation as may termites.
The effectiveness of converting from coal to natural gas depends on the amount of methane which leaks.
Notes and references
- "Limiting Methane Leaks Critical to Gas, Climate Benefits" Climate Central May 22nd, 2013