Far More Methane Leaking at Oil, Gas Sites in Pennsylvania than Reported

Far More Methane Leaking at Oil, Gas Sites in Pennsylvania than Reported

SOURCE: Inside Climate News DATE: February 16, 2018 SNIP: 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. Methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, is a greenhouse gas about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a century. The Trump administration has been working to roll back several policies and initiatives that were designed to rein in methane emissions, most recently to end requirements to limit leaks at oil and gas sites on federal...
We’re about to kill a massive, accidental experiment in reducing global warming

We’re about to kill a massive, accidental experiment in reducing global warming

SOURCE: MIT Technology Review DATE: January 22, 2018 SNIP: Studies have found that ships have a net cooling effect on the planet, despite belching out nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. That’s almost entirely because they also emit sulfur, which can scatter sunlight in the atmosphere and form or thicken clouds that reflect it away. In effect, the shipping industry has been carrying out an unintentional experiment in climate engineering for more than a century. Global mean temperatures could be as much as 0.25 ˚C lower than they would otherwise have been, based on the mean “forcing effect” calculated by a 2009 study that pulled together other findings. For a world struggling to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 ˚C, that’s a big helping hand. And we’re about to take it away. In 2016, the UN’s International Maritime Organization announced that by 2020, international shipping vessels will have to significantly cut sulfur pollution. There are very good reasons to cut sulfur: it contributes to both ozone depletion and acid rain, and it can cause or exacerbate respiratory problems. But as a 2009 paper in Environmental Science & Technology noted, limiting sulfur emissions is a double-edged sword. “Given these reductions, shipping will, relative to present-day impacts, impart a ‘double warming’ effect: one from [carbon dioxide], and one from the reduction of [sulfur dioxide],” wrote the authors. “Therefore, after some decades the net climate effect of shipping will shift from cooling to...
Fossil fuel burning set to hit record high in 2017, scientists warn

Fossil fuel burning set to hit record high in 2017, scientists warn

SOURCE: The Global Carbon Project, The Guardian, Associated Press, Earth System Science Data (PDF) DATE: November 13, 2017 SNIP: The burning of fossil fuels around the world is set to hit a record high in 2017, climate scientists have warned, following three years of flat growth that raised hopes that a peak in global emissions had been reached. The expected jump in the carbon emissions that drive global warming is a “giant leap backwards for humankind”, according to some scientists. However, other experts said they were not alarmed, saying fluctuations in emissions are to be expected and that big polluters such as China are acting to cut emissions. Global emissions need to reach their peak by 2020 and then start falling quickly in order to have a realistic chance of keeping global warming below the 2C danger limit, according to leading scientists. Whether the anticipated increase in CO2 emissions in 2017 is just a blip that is followed by a falling trend, or is the start of a worrying upward trend, remains to be seen. Estimates for 2017 put it at about 40.8 billion tons (37 billion metric tons). Sixty years ago , the world spewed only 9.2 billion tons (8.3 billion metric tons). “It’s a bit staggering,” said co-author Ralph Keeling, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist, noting in an email that levels have increased fourfold since he was born in the 1950s. “We race headlong into the unknown.” The ability to monitor emissions quickly and accurately is of growing importance. The Paris agreement is based on voluntary cuts by nations, and without verification that pledges have been...
Natural gas emissions will blow Europe’s carbon budget at current levels

Natural gas emissions will blow Europe’s carbon budget at current levels

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 7, 2017 SNIP: Governments have drastically underestimated methane emissions from natural gas and will miss the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2C unless they urgently scale down its use, a major new study has found. Continuing natural gas emissions at present levels will add 0.6C to global warming and, with other fossil fuel use, exhaust Europe’s carbon budget – the amount it can safely and fairly emit – in less than a decade, says the report (PDF) by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. It concludes that Europe must phase out all fossil fuels including gas by 2035 and decrease emissions by 12% per year – far beyond its current ambitions – to keep to the Paris 2C...
There’s a huge gap between the Paris climate change goals and reality

There’s a huge gap between the Paris climate change goals and reality

SOURCE: Vox DATE: October 31, 2017 SNIP: In 2015 in Paris, the countries of the world agreed to hold the rise in global average temperatures to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” How’s that going? The unavoidably grim answer: not well, and not just because President Donald Trump has promised to pull the United States out of the accord. Every year, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) releases an “Emissions Gap” report, on the remaining disparity between the world’s stated ambitions on climate and the actions it is currently taking. The 2017 edition of the report is out a week before the next round of international climate talks in Bonn, Germany. And it reports that the gap remains … substantial. Collectively, the carbon reductions pledged by the world’s countries in Paris are woefully inadequate. Even assuming all countries fulfill their pledges, it would account for only about a third of the needed emission reductions to get to 2...