Two federal agencies this month took steps that would allow the oil and gas industry to release more methane, a greenhouse gas, into the environment. Critics warned that methane is more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping the Earth’s heat, but some gave wildly divergent figures to describe how much more potent.
Sen. James Inhofe misleadingly claimed that the statistics behind the globe’s likely hottest years on record — 2014, 2015 and 2016 — were “meaningless” because the temperature increases were “well within the margin of error.” Taking into account the margins of error, there’s still a long-term warming trend.
Rep. Lamar Smith said climate change “alarmists” ignore the “positive impacts” of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, such as increased food production and quality. But the impact of increased CO2 levels on agriculture is more complicated than that — and, on balance, likely negative, particularly in the future.