Flying 10,000 feet above the Gulf of Mexico, in a plane outfitted with infrared imaging equipment, researchers could see methane gas bubbling under water, likely from an undetected pipeline leak. Over the course of several flights in 2021, they spotted frequent gas plumes from platforms, storage tanks, and pipelines offshore, leading the team to believe that the 151 platforms near the Louisiana coast had a much higher methane leak rate than what’s been measured for onshore oil and gas production. “I think the bottom line message in this study is there’s a lot of emissions in the shallow waters that are currently unmeasured,” said Riley Duren, the CEO of Carbon Mapper and coauthor of the nonprofit’s 2022 study of offshore methane emissions. New technologies are allowing for actual measurements of oil and gas methane emissions like never before, whether from leaks or intentional flaring and venting.
Fresh U.S. government data spotlighting the rapid growth of atmospheric methane concentrations in recent years has scientists increasingly concerned that the human-caused climate crisis has triggered a vicious feedback loop, potentially resulting in unstoppable planetary warming. Research published in January by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed that atmospheric concentrations of methane—a greenhouse gas that's 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period—soared past 1,900 parts per billion in 2021, which ranked as the fourth-warmest year on record. As Nature reported Tuesday, "The growth of methane emissions slowed around the turn of the millennium, but began a rapid and mysterious uptick around 2007."
The Environmental Protection Agency is drastically undervaluing the potency of methane as a greenhouse gas when the agency compares methane’s climate impact to that of carbon dioxide, a new study concludes. The EPA’s climate accounting for methane is “arbitrary and unjustified” and three times too low to meet the goals set in the Paris climate agreement, the research report, published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found. The report proposes a new method of accounting that places greater emphasis on the potential for cuts in methane and other short-lived greenhouse gasses to help limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. “If you want to keep the world from passing the 1.5 degrees C threshold, you’ll want to pay more attention to methane than we have so far,” said Rob Jackson, an earth system science professor at Stanford University and a co-author of the study.
Reducing methane emissions took center stage at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow ending Friday. More than 100 countries pledged to reduce their methane emissions by 30% over the next decade. Methane is a significantly more potent yet shorter-lived greenhouse gas, making it a target to prevent near-term warming as societies hurtle towards the 1.5 degrees of warming deemed disastrous for life on Earth. In tandem with this global commitment, the Biden administration released its plan to bring down U.S. methane emissions. While this plan would set new limits on methane emissions coming off oil and gas plants, it does not regulate the single largest source of U.S. methane emissions: animal agriculture.
A group of doctors and nurses have launched an aggressive billboard campaign targeting BC Ferries for burning liquefied natural gas — or LNG — a largely methane mixture they say is threatening human health and the world’s climate system. Dr. Melissa Lem, a Vancouver family physician and president-elect of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), says the campaign was partly in response to advertisements on some BC Ferries trumpeting the clean potential of natural gas. “They have these massive billboards that tout the clean natural gas,” says Lem. “What’s feeding their ferries is also hurting people's health up north.” Of BC Ferries’ 35 vessels, five burn LNG, and the gas is expected to play an important role as the fleet moves away from marine diesel and toward several LNG-electric hybrids.
As methane concentrations increase in the Earth’s atmosphere, chemical fingerprints point to a probable source: shale oil and gas, according to new Cornell research published Aug. 14 in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union. The research suggests that this methane has less carbon-13 relative to carbon-12 (denoting the weight of the carbon atom at the center of the methane molecule) than does methane from conventional natural gas and other fossil fuels such as coal. This carbon-13 signature means that since the use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing – commonly called fracking...
This week on Act Out! Fracking, fires and methane leaks oh my. The geeks are watching you and here's a solution to student debt. Finally, the strike in West Virginia may be over but the fight continues. We dive into details – good and bad – and the possible rally growing from roots all over the country. West Virginia teacher Brittney Barlett joins us as well to talk backstory – aftermath - and the road ahead.
Leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from oil and gas sites in Pennsylvania could be five times greater than industry reports to state regulators, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund. Drawing from peer-reviewed research based on measurements collected downwind of oil and gas sites, along with government data, the EDF analysis estimates that the state's oil and gas wells and infrastructure leak more than 520,000 tons of methane annually, largely due to faulty equipment. "This wasted gas causes the same near-term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants and results in nearly $68 million worth of wasted energy resources," the group said in its report, released Thursday.
By Staff of EDF - (Washington, D.C. – July 31, 2017) The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued the mandate tonight in its ruling that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt acted unlawfully in suspending pollution limits for the oil and gas industry. Nine of the eleven active judges on the court ordered immediate issuance of the mandate. “Today’s issuance of the mandate by the full D.C. Circuit protects families and communities across America under clean air safeguards that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to unlawfully tear down,” said EDF Lead Attorney Peter Zalzal. The en banc court issued the mandate this evening for the ruling by a three-judge panel on July 3rd.That opinion held Administrator Pruitt’s suspension of oil and gas pollution standards was “unlawful,” “arbitrary,” and “capricious.” The critical clean air protections at stake will reduce harmful methane and smog-forming, toxic and carcinogenic air pollution from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry.
By Phil Mckenna for Inside Climate News - The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Inspector General will investigate how the agency estimates methane emissions from the oil and gas sector after an environmental group alleged that its emission estimates and regulations are based, in part, on faulty studies. The evaluation, announced Wednesday, will focus on a pair of studies conducted jointly by the University of Texas–Austin and the Environmental Defense Fund in 2013-2014 that found methane emissions to be lower than EPA estimates. The studies, which were done in cooperation with a number of oil and gas companies, were subsequently challenged for allegedly using faulty equipment and underestimating emissions. "This evaluation's objectives are examining the results of and concerns/problems with the 2013 and 2014 emission studies conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Texas-Austin," EPA OIG spokesperson Jennifer Kaplan said in an email. The oil and gas sector is the leading source of human-derived methane emissions in the U.S., emitting more than either the agricultural sector or landfills, according to EPA estimates. Regulation of the powerful greenhouse gas has been in dispute since the Trump administration arrived and began rolling back President Barack Obama's efforts to rein in emissions.
By Staff of The Times of India - KOCHI: Njarackal policeremoved protesters from the Puthuvype LNG import terminal of the IOC on Wednesday after they allegedly disrupted the functioning of the plant. According to police, as many as 204 protesters were arrested and removed from the spot. The arrested persons were booked under sections 188, 283, 143, 145 147 and 149 of the IPC and were later let go on bail. District collector had given out instructions to ensure police protection for the smooth functioning of the terminal of Indian Oil Corporation. The district collector's direction to the rural district police chief came in the wake of orders of the state and central governments, the Kerala high court and the National Green Tribunal. High court had on September 8 ordered the police to provide necessary protection to the LPG terminal in the special economic zone of Puthuvype. The order was applicable to all persons connected with the terminal, including the company's property, employees and contractors. Varapuzha archbishop Joseph Kalathilparambil meanwhile condemned the arrest and police atrocity. "Abolishing people's protest is not the right way. There are more than 1,000 families residing in a one kilometer radius of the project. The people are apprehensive about the project leading to disasters in the future.
By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog - Researchers at Purdue University and the Environmental Defense Fund have concluded in a recent study that natural gas power plants release 21–120 times more methane than earlier estimates. Published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the study also found that for oil refineries, emission rates were 11–90 times more than initial estimates. Natural gas, long touted as a cleaner and more climate-friendly alternative to burning coal, is obtained in the U.S. mostly via the controversial horizontal drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).
By Jim Warren for NC Warn - Durham, NC – Today NC WARN sent the Inspector General of the US EPA a statement signed by 130 diverse organizations calling for an investigation into ourJune 8 complaint that scientific fraud and cover-up by agency officials has already wasted crucial years in slowing the climate crisis and has enhanced hazards for gas facility workers and neighbors. Today’s joint statement coincides with the release of data by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing the hottest May on record for average global temperature.
By Jim Warren for NC Warn - Durham, NC – A watchdog group today charged that a high-ranking federal official connected to the fossil fuel industry committed scientific fraud and possibly criminal misconduct in a case with sweeping ramifications for global climate change and the safety of workers and neighbors of natural gas sites across much of the United States. The group called for an expedited investigation due to the urgent climate and safety implications of the EPA’s failure to curb widespread methane emissions.
By John Downey for Charlotte Business Journal - An environmental and consumer advocacy group has until May 27 to decide if they can risk ponying up a $10 million bond to challenge Duke Energy’s $1.1 billion Asheville natural gas and infrastructure project. If it does, Charlotte-based Duke (NYSE: DUK) has until Sept 1 to decide whether it wants to start construction of the 560-megawatt plant knowing that delays for the appeal could make the project more expensive.