Reducing Methane Leaks: Actions and Challenges
For more information, contact:
Bill Cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Catherine HausmanAssistant ProfessorSchool of Public Policy, University of Michigan
- Ben RatnerSenior DirectorEnvironmental Defense Fund
- Karen GoldbergVagelos Professor in Energy Research, Department of ChemistrySchool of Arts and Sciences
About the Discussion
According to the EPA, methane's lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than carbon dioxide (CO2). But methane (CH4) is more efficient at trapping radiation than CO2. Pound for pound, the comparative impact of CH4 is more than 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period. A recent study found the U.S. oil and gas industry emits 13 million metric tons of methane from its operations each year—nearly 60 percent more than previous estimates and enough to offset much of the climate benefits of burning natural gas instead of coal.
Reducing methane leaks is therefore a priority to tackle climate change. But does the industry have the proper incentives to reduce those harmful losses? What policies or regulations should change or be implemented to improve those incentives? What is the industry currently doing to minimize those leaks? And how is the environmental group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) working with industry to achieve methane reduction targets?
About the Speakers
Catherine Hausman is a visiting scholar of the Kleinman Center. She is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economics Research. Her work focuses on environmental and energy economics. Her research has appeared in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, and the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Recent projects have looked at the economic and environmental impacts of shale gas; the market impacts of nuclear power plant closures; and the effects of electricity market deregulation on nuclear power safety. Prior to her graduate studies, Hausman studied in Peru on a Fulbright grant. She has taught statistics, a policy seminar on energy and the environment, and a course on government regulation of industry and the environment. She holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ben Ratner leads the EDF+Business Energy & Innovation team at the Environmental Defense Fund, where he works with business experts catalyzing advances in energy and innovation for a safer climate and healthier environment. Prior to joining EDF, Ben advised large corporate clients in a range of industries, as a senior associate at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. Ratner also practiced law at international law firm Latham & Watkins, LLP, with a focus on environmental law and regulation. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he led the mock trial program. Ben also is a graduate of Rice University, and former participant in the Stanford Graduate School of Business Ignite program on entrepreneurship.
Karen Goldberg is the director of the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology and the Vagelos Professor in Energy Research. She was formerly the Nicole A. Boand Endowed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on developing mechanistic understanding of organometallic reactions relevant to the production of chemicals and fuels. At Washington, she served as director of the first NSF Phase II Center for Chemical Innovation, the Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC). Goldberg is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships and prizes, including the International Precious Metal Institute’s Carol Tyler Award and the American Chemical Society’s Award for Organometallic Chemistry. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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