Hausman in The Conversation: Why methane leaks matter, and why markets won't fix them

August 10, 2016

“In less than a year, the Aliso Canyon [natural gas] facility leaked methane equal to about four million metric tons of CO2, the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving over 800,000 cars in a year,” writes Catherine Hausman for The Conversation U.S.

Hausman’s piece, “Why utilities have little incentive to plug leaking natural gas,” explores why “the lost value of leaked natural gas to a company is nowhere near the cost to society of the damages that same gas levies on the environment,” and why “environmental regulations, rather than leaving the industry to self-regulate, are the best option for cutting emissions.”

Hausman’s post is based on research she conducted with Lucija Muehlenbachs (University of Calgary/Resources for the Future). To learn more, read "Catherine Hausman on methane leak repairs: Low-hanging fruit for climate change abatement" and the 2016 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, “Price regulation and environmental externalities: Evidence from methane leaks." An ungated version of the research is available through Resources for the Future. 


Catherine Hausman is an assistant professor of public policy at the Ford School. Her research focuses on environmental and energy economics.