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The Editors

The Gas Is Always Greener When It Leaks Less

The great promise of natural gas, we’re often told, is that it will be better for the climate than other fossil fuels. In fact, this can come true only if very little of the fuel is allowed to escape, unburned, into the air.

The trouble is, we don’t know how much natural gas leaks -- as it is extracted, processed, transported and used -- and some evidence suggests the amount may be more than we have assumed. As the U.S. gears up to use more of the fuel, not only for electricity and home heating but also to power cars and trucks and for export, the need to find out how much is getting away is urgent.