“METHANE EMISSIONS FROM COAL MINES ARE HIGHER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT”

MORE OF THE POWERFUL GREENHOUSE GAS IS COMING FROM DEEPER AND ABANDONED MINES

MEDIA CONTACT: TOM RICKEY, PNNL

“January 27, 2021


​”COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The amount of methane released into the atmosphere as a result of coal mining is likely much higher than previously calculated, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union recently.

“The study estimates that methane emissions from coal mines are approximately 50 percent higher than previously estimated. The research was done by a team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others.

“The higher estimate is due mainly to two factors: methane that continues to be emitted from thousands of abandoned mines and the higher methane content in coal seams that are ever deeper, according to chief author Nazar Kholod of PNNL.

“The results have important implications for Earth’s climate because methane is about 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming the planet over a long period. In addition to coal mining, other major sources of methane emissions globally include wetlands, agriculture, and oil and gas facilities.

The study is one of the first to account for methane leaking from old, abandoned mines. Kholod said that when a closed mine is flooded, water stops methane from leaking almost completely within about seven years. But when an abandoned mine is closed without flooding, as many are, methane leaks into the air for decades…”

The URL below directs to the full-article in PNNL News…

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