Methane

Expert Voices

EPA's relaxed methane regulations could cost new energy jobs

natural gas processing facility with tanks and pipes
A natural gas filtration system in Mifflin Township, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to roll back regulations on methane emissions not only poses environmental risks, but also jeopardizes new leak-detection technologies that could create high-paying jobs nationwide.

Why it matters: Reducing emissions of methane — a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential up to 34 times that of carbon dioxide over 100 years — is critical to maintaining the emissions advantages of natural gas over coal, especially as U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) grow.

A fingerprint of Earth from space

Earth seen from orbit. Photo: NASA

Scientists have developed a fingerprint of Earth from space that could one day help identify other habitable worlds light-years from our own.

Why it matters: If researchers find a planet that matched Earth's fingerprint — which shows what Earth would look like in infrared if seen by an alien civilization — out there in the universe, it could indicate they've found a habitable world.