A new study says the United States is spewing 50 percent more methane than the federal government estimates. Much of it is coming from just three states: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Scientists say that means methane may be a bigger global warming issue than they thought. Methane is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warming gas, although it doesn't stay in the air as long.
Much of that extra methane seems to be coming from the belches, flatulence and manure of livestock, and leaks from refining and drilling for oil and gas. The study is published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The study figures that in 2008 the U.S. gave off 49 million tons of methane.
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