New carbon emissions laws for power plants propelled climate change into the public consciousness again in recent weeks, so it will be interesting to see if a similar outcry results from news about methane leaks. Experts consider methane’s potential effects on global warming to be approximately 20 times that of carbon dioxide, and the numerous leaks discovered by Google cars reveal not only a potential wide scale global warming threat, but also the possibility of natural gas explosions from faulty piping.
Earlier this year, Harlem suffered a natural gas explosion that killed eight people. To make matters worse, the data collected by the Environmental Defense Fund shows that many places dealing with methane leaks still use cast iron pipes that could be corroded and dangerous. In contrast, Indianapolis recently installed new plastic pipes, and data from those areas shows almost no leaks whatsoever.