In a paper issued this week, experts urged the federal government to enact new restrictions as soon as possible to stop more illnesses, citing the billions of dollars in what they claimed are health-related expenses linked with pollution coming from the oil and gas sector.
Ananya Roy, a top researcher at the Environmental Defense Fund, stated in a news release that “reducing oil and gas emissions is one of the quickest, most affordable ways to decrease methane as well as other air pollutants, which enhances air quality, safeguards public health, and delays climate change.”
Researchers from Boston University in addition to the University of North Carolina collaborated with Roy to publish details of their research in the journal Environment Studies: Health, which reveals that the oil and gas industry’s air pollution causes a “significant” impact on public health.
Early last year, the federal government and the European Union unveiled a worldwide strategy that seeks to cut methane by 30% from a baseline in 2020 by 2030.
As part of that endeavor, $1.15 billion will be used to clean up abandoned gas and oil wells, and an additional $1 billion will be used to update the current natural gas pipeline system.
In contrast, the Environmental Protection Agency put out plans in November to enhance the laws now in place regarding methane emissions. According to Roy, it is “critical” that the EPA completes its regulations as quickly as feasible.
Despite being a powerful energy transporter, methane has a greater potential for global warming compared to carbon dioxide.
In other places, researchers found that the oil and gas industry’s emissions of nitrogen oxide, fine particles, and ozone were responsible for almost 7,500 fatalities and 2,200 new instances of children asthma. Costs associated with the health issues alone total $77 billion annually, they wrote.
Jonathan Buonocore, a professor at Boston University and one of the study’s corresponding authors, said that “the effects on health were not limited to the burning of oil and gas.”
The Energy Department’s statistics division, the Energy Information Admin., predicted in its monthly market update for April that carbon dioxide emissions connected to the energy sector will decrease by 3% from levels in 2022 but then grow “slightly” in 2024.