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Flaring natural gas burns by jack pumps at an oil well near Buford, North Dakota. Photo: William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images

Greenhouse gas emissions from methane, which largely originates from natural gas production and agriculture, have been underestimated by 25% to 40% compared to recent gauges, per a new study in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

Why it matters: Methane gas is more potent than CO2 at trapping heat on a pound-for-pound basis in the short-term, which makes it an important factor to weigh as countries tackle global warming.

What they found: Ancient samples of air from Greenland's ice sheets contained "very little of the oldest type of methane — multimillion-year-old fossil methane gas," the Washington Post reports. This suggests that the Earth's current methane-addled atmosphere is caused by humans exploiting fossil fuels.

What they're saying: Harvard atmospheric scientist and methane expert Daniel Jacob told the Post that the study represented an “important result, because the current estimates for the methane geological source were widely considered too high by atmospheric modelers such as myself.”

  • Yes, but: Jacob told the Post that he disagreed with the study's inference that smaller fossil methane sources means that humans should increase emissions from another source.

Go deeper: New methane capture method could reduce global warming by one-sixth

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

5 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.