Methane Levels in Atmosphere Stabilize

Here’s a rarity: a possible climate-change success story. Atmospheric levels of methane, the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, have stabilized following 200 years of growth caused primarily by human activities, according to new research by Dutch and American scientists published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Though the stabilization may be temporary, climate experts say it is evidence that steps to curb climate change could be effective. “This is a big deal,” said well-known climate scientist James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Actions that would further decrease emissions of methane — including fixing pipeline leaks and capturing gas released during mining and oil drilling — would have the side benefits of improving air quality and industrial efficiency.