The boom in natural gas drilling by conventional methods and by fracking has led to a spike in methane emissions from pipelines, storage tanks, processing facilities, and other parts of the natural gas system. Natural gas is mostly composed of methane, so these emissions constitute waste and lost revenues. But they also represent a serious environmental problem because methane is 25 times more effective in trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide.
The widespread use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) as well as improved drilling techniques have created a major boom in natural gas production. This unquestionably has positive economic impacts for many. One of the important consequences of this is that natural gas is increasingly taking the place of coal for powering electrical generating plants.