Methane destruction refers to the combustion—or “flaring”—of methane gas that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide emissions resulting from this process result in less climate damages and are also better for local air quality. Venting of methane has historically occurred in natural gas, petroleum, and coal mining operations for a variety of reasons. For petroleum operations, it more likely occurs in places where the infrastructure does not exist to profitably inject that methane into the natural gas system, e.g. there is no existing pipeline readily available. Landfills are another place where methane destruction occurs with some frequency.
Methane destruction is achievable through basic standards that require that excess natural gas is flared instead of vented. As usual, such standards must be complemented by periodic checks to see that the operators have installed required equipment and that it is operating as intended.
For a more detailed discussion, see the applicable chapter of Designing Climate Solutions, our book on smart energy and climate policy design.