April 11. The oil boom in North Dakota is so hot that drillers just burn away millions of cubic feet of natural gas every day. The picture above is an actual NASA photo of the section of the state which is home to the Bakken shale oil field. The lights, for the most part, are the flares, some of which are 30 feet high.
Natural gas is mostly methane. When flared it releases carbon dioxide and some methane. Methane is is about 20 time worse than carbon dioxide in its greenhouse effects (though it doesn’t last as long as CO2 in the atmosphere).