Buffing holes for climate protection
Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas in our atmosphere after carbon dioxide. It doesn't stay there for as long as carbon dioxide, but its warming effect is much greater. The sources of methane are diverse: it escapes from swamps and termite structures, but also from digesting cattle or from oil and natural gas wells. And it is precisely the latter that has ensured that the methane concentration in our atmosphere has risen sharply in recent years.
Methane escapes from tens of thousands of active and idle fossil fuel extraction facilities. Our colleague Anna Kuchment from "Scientific American" describes in her article "The Methane Hunters" from p.42 how to use the most modern technology to search for the largest sources of emissions in order to hopefully finally seal them tightly. In one of the largest gas production areas in the USA alone, there are tens of thousands of boreholes that are no longer used and are only provisionally sealed.
Sealing them would be a comparatively easy contribution to climate protection. And the measure would help to reduce methane emissions in the next few years by the 30 percent that many countries pledged at the last COP26 world climate summit in Glasgow. It would bring us one step closer to limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius by the end of the century.