Methane Increase Caused By Agriculture and Not Fracking

“A new study published today in the journal Science shows that fossil fuels are not the cause of increasing levels of methane in the atmosphere, but rather from agriculture. The study, conducted by National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and led by Hinrich Schaefer, concludes that since 2007, the most likely cause of increased atmospheric methane comes from agricultural practices, and not from fracking or fossil fuel production.”

According to Schaefer, the NIWA team found they could distinguish three types of methane emissions. “One is the burning of organic material, such as forest fires,” he said. “Another is fossil fuel production – the same processes that form natural oil and gas – and the third is formed by microbes which come from a variety of sources such as wetlands, rice paddies and livestock.”

The team found that the “source of the increase was methane produced by bacteria, of which the most likely sources are natural, such as wetlands or agricultural, for example from rice paddies or livestock.” They were surprised to discover that fossil fuel production was not the source of the increased methane and ruled it out. They call the post-2006 rise in methane primarily microorganisms (biogenic), were coming from outside the Arctic, and were “more consistent with agriculture than wetlands.”

http://www.examiner.com/article/study-increased-methane-levels-from-agriculture-not-fossil-fuel-production

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