NZ Herald: Nasa – Methane effect worse than thought

Eloise Gibson of the NZ Herald reports on a recent study from NASA which suggests that New Zealand’s contribution to climate change could be bigger than we think.

The study says that scientists have underestimated – by 40-60 percent- how much methane warms the planet, and New Zealand’s methane emissions form a far larger proportion of its overall emissions than most other developed countries.

However, local scientists have advised caution, saying that they would need to see more work done to back up the study.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“The study, led by Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, said methane blocked the creation of aerosols that would otherwise cool the planet – a new finding not counted in current estimates of global warming.

“New Zealand is almost unique in the developed world because of its large proportion of methane emissions. The gas is released by farm animals, as well as landfills, crops and coal mines.

“New Zealand scientists reacted cautiously to the new study, saying more work was needed to back it up.

“A New Zealand author of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Martin Manning, said at least one more study showing the same thing would be needed before the panel would change its stance.

“It was a “very short paper on a very complex topic” but it would open up debate, he said.”