Environmental Defense Fund

Founded in 1967, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is recognized today as a leading science-based environmental advocacy organization. Its more than 400 scientists, economists, attorneys, analysts and other professionals are based in the United States, China and Mexico, and also engage extensively in Brazil, India, Europe and other locations. EDF brings a pragmatic approach, often involving use of market-based approaches, to finding equitable solutions to key environmental challenges including climate and energy, oceans, ecosystems and human health.

EDF’s work on methane emissions from natural gas

  • In 2012, EDF et al. evaluated potential climate impacts from methane leakage across the value chain of natural gas (i.e. production, processing and delivery) in the context of fuel-switching scenarios for gasoline, diesel fuel and coal. The analysis, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that new natural gas combined-cycle power plants reduce climate impacts compared to new coal plants as long as natural gas leakage remains under 3.2%; for gasoline and diesel, the corresponding figures are respectively 1.6% and 1%.
  • To help reduce the significant uncertainties about current U.S. leak rates (available estimates range from 1%-7.9%), EDF is working closely with leading academic institutions and companies across the natural gas value chain to design and implement a series of studies to gather methane leakage data. The results will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals, with publication expected as follows:
    • Production facilities - spring 2013
    • Vehicles and fueling stations - late 2013/early 2014
    • Local distribution systems - late 2013/early 2014
    • Transmission and storage facilities - early/mid 2014
    • Gathering and processing facilities – mid 2014
    For production facilities, EDF and a consortium of nine US natural gas producers1 are sponsoring the University of Texas to study emissions at participating companies’ facilities. The study of vehicles and fueling stations, which focuses on routine operation of natural gas fleet vehicles fueled by compressed or liquefied natural gas, is being conducted by West Virginia University for EDF and eight industry organizations2. Details about the remaining modules, which will use a similar collaborative approach, will be posted on EDF’s web site as they become publicly available 2.
  • EDF is just completing a three-year project with Gazprom designed to:
    • Establish methodologies for a regional pilot methane emissions inventory harmonized with UNFCCC, IPCC, and Russian federal reporting guidelines;
    • Create a governance structure to support the design and implementation of a corporate GHG emissions management system ;and
    • Identify the best operational and technological practices deployed through Gazprom’s network of subsidiaries to capture and reduce methane emissions.
    Since the project’s inception, Gazprom has reported significant decreases in methane emissions, citing a number of activities undertaken as a result of recommendations made during the project. Results have been published as a three part series of articles in the Russian oil and gas trade journal Territory Neftegaz.

EDF’s work on other SLCP sources:

  • EDF is also working to reduce methane emissions from agricultural activities in China, India, Vietnam and the U.S.; to use biogas and advanced cookstoves to reduce methane releases and black carbon emissions in India and China; and to reduce black carbon emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines in the U.S.

More information:

1 Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, BG Group plc, Chevron, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., Pioneer Natural Resources Company, Shell, Southwestern Energy, Talisman Energy, USA, and XTO Energy, an ExxonMobil subsidiary.
2 American Gas Association, International Council on Clean Transportation, PepsiCo, Shell, Volvo Group, Waste Management, Cummins Westport and Westport Innovations.