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Gas stoves may find themselves the next target of climate activists after a study published by the American Chemical Society highlighted methane leaks that occurred while the stoves were not in use.
The study looked at 53 households with gas stoves in California and found that three-quarters of their methane emissions occurred while the stoves were not used. According to the authors, “Using a 20-year timeframe for methane, annual methane emissions from all gas stoves in U.S. homes have a climate impact comparable to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 500?000 cars.”
“Surprisingly, there are very few measurements of how much natural gas escapes into the air from inside homes and buildings through leaks and incomplete combustion from appliances,” lead author Eric Lebel told MarketWatch. “It’s probably the part of natural-gas emissions we understand the least about, and it can have a big impact on both climate and indoor air quality,” he added.
Scientific American noted that Lebel, who is a doctoral student at Stanford, is also a senior scientist with PSE Healthy Energy, a nonprofit often critical of the fossil fuel industry.
Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However, it does not stay in the atmosphere so long. Even so, the gas has been drawing growing attention from energy regulators and nonprofits as a contributor to global warming.
Some specific steps in reducing this contribution have been stricter oversight on methane leaks in the oil and gas industry and methane certification for oil and gas producers to grant buyers of their fuels to ensure they were produced with limited methane emissions.
Several cities in the United States and Europe are discussing reducing their reliance on gas, including in households, and New York recently approved a ban on gas hookups for new buildings as part of its renewable push.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com