With study after study showing that methane emissions from oil and natural gas production are exceedingly low and continuing to plummet, the White House has gone into overdrive in its effort to justify costly new regulations on the industry.

Last week, the White House invited discredited Cornell researcher Robert Howarth to give a 90 minute briefing on methane to senior staff.

Notably, just about every credible scientist working on methane has criticized Howarth’s research, including his work with activist Cornell Professor Anthony Ingraffea. Both Howarth and Ingraffea have argued that methane emissions from oil and natural gas development are enough to wipe out the fuel’s environmental advantages, a theory that has been widely panned.  Even President Obama’s former Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu (a Nobel Prize-winning physicist), said of Howarth and Ingraffea’s research: “we didn’t think it was credible.”

Other researchers who have criticized Howarth’s work include University of Chicago climate scientist Raymond Pierrehumbert; Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller; and Cornell earth, atmospheric sciences professor Louis Derry.  Michael Levi from the Center for Foreign Relations asked rhetorically about Howarth and Ingraffea’s research: “Is there value in debating people who don’t want to think?”


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