Deadly emissions – Tracking methane leaks | DW Documentary

Globally, research teams are registering increasingly high concentrations of methane in the atmosphere. This climate killer is responsible for around 25 per cent of the global temperature rise. But where is the methane gas coming from?

Is methane escaping from cities’ natural gas networks? From pipelines? Or in the extraction of oil and gas? There are many sources of methane – including natural ones: it’s released in forest fires and when vegetation rots in wetlands. Landfills, factory farming and heating and cooking with wood also produce large amounts of methane globally. But it has been scientifically proven beyond any doubt that some 40 per cent of the current rise in atmospheric methane concentration is due to natural gas.

One thing is sure: The increasing methane concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere must be stopped as quickly as possible, if we are to attain our climate targets.

The film searches for clues in the US, the Netherlands, Germany and France and observes researchers as they produce step-by-step proof of how and where methane is released – with the help of special cameras, satellite images and detailed data analysis. Leaks in badly maintained gas and oil production facilities are a major culprit.

Although the technology to monitor plants for methane leaks 24/7 has existed for some time already, the gas and oil industry seems reluctant to make the necessary investments. This, despite the fact that companies lose vast amounts of their precious product through super-emitting methane leaks. Every year more than 80 million tons of the dangerous gas escapes into the atmosphere from oil and gas production facilities. That’s largely equivalent to the annual consumption of natural gas in both Germany and France together.

If Germany and the EU are serious about reaching their climate targets and stemming global warming, they must massively reduce their own natural gas consumption and commit top companies and producers to clean natural gas production.

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