If you want to catch fish, go where you know the fish are. That’s our best advice for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as they draw up details to set methane pollution limits for the oil and gas industry, expected later this summer. The agency knows where the “fish” are – they drew a pretty good map of key methane sources back in January when they announced their intentions to address methane. Now they just need a concrete plan to reel them in.
The Administration has announced that EPA will issue a proposed plan for action later this summer, with a proposed rule that will set first-ever limits on potent methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas sources. Together with other efforts from across government, this step can lay a strong foundation toward achieving the administration’s goal of reducing harmful methane pollution 40-45% below 2012 levels by 2025.
But as we know, the devil will be in the details, and for the oil and gas sector these details will be critically important. There are many different points along the supply chain where methane is being released uncontrolled—and in many cases undetected. The good news is that EPA knows this is a problem, and even collected extensive comments from experts and the public via a series of whitepapers on how to tackle the most significant emission points along the supply chain. Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas
By: Jonathan Camuzeaux, Senior Economic Analyst
The surge in natural gas production that has reshaped the American energy landscape has many in the commercial transportation sector considering whether to start shifting their heavy-duty vehicle fleets from diesel to natural gas fuel. Many are looking to an advantage in carbon dioxide emissions to justify the higher cost and reduced fuel efficiency of a natural gas vehicle.
But in fact, a study published today in Environmental Science & Technology finds that while there are pathways for natural gas trucks to achieve climate benefits, reductions in potent heat trapping methane emissions across the natural gas value chain are necessary, along with engine efficiency improvements. If these steps are not taken, switching truck fleets from diesel to natural gas could actually increase warming for decades.
Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, has 84 times more warming power than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe. Reducing emissions throughout the natural gas value chain is an important opportunity to reduce our overall greenhouse footprint. Read More
Every year, SXSW Eco – one of the most high-profile environmental conferences – selects its programming based on votes from the public. This means anyone, regardless of whether you submitted a panel, can cast a vote.
This year, seven experts from Environmental Defense Fund are featured on dynamic panels that cover everything from solar equity and new utility business models to innovative building efficiency programs and the threat of methane pollution. To make sure EDF and energy-related programming is represented at the conference in Austin, TX this October, we are asking our readers to please vote for your favorite EDF panels and presentations. Read More
Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Climate, Demand Response, EDF Climate Corps, Energy Efficiency, Energy-Water Nexus, General, Illinois, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid, Texas, Utility Business Models
A great thing happened today for the environment and people of California. On the very day we released new maps measuring methane leaking from natural gas lines under Los Angeles-area streets, the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) announced they would begin publishing their own maps showing the locations of leaks they find on their system.
It is a positive move that brings the company a big step closer to complying with the California law requiring them to publish not only the whereabouts of known leaks, but also the amount of methane escaping (which their newly announced maps do not). The public has a right to know where and how much harmful air pollution is being emitted by SoCalGas and any other company in California.
Too much ink has been spilled on the anti-climate furor of the Koch brothers. If we lose on climate, it won’t be because of the Koch brothers or those like them.
It will be because too many potential climate champions from the business community stood quietly on the sidelines at a time when America has attractive policy opportunities to drive down economy-endangering greenhouse gas emissions.
Corporate executives have the savvy to understand the climate change problem and opportunity. They have the incentive to tackle it through smart policy, and the clout to influence politicians and policy makers. Perhaps most importantly, they can inspire each other.
And today, they have a chance to do what they do best: lead. Corporate climate leadership has nothing to do with partisanship – it’s ultimately about business acumen.
For starters, here are three immediate opportunities smart companies won’t want to miss. Read More
Methane from oil and gas operations is a serious climate risk, but also a ripe opportunity to make a huge dent in overall greenhouse emissions. This past week, one state took a big, and long-awaited, step to address the challenge.
While we wait for the Environmental Protection Agency to release draft federal methane rules this summer, the California Air Resources Board has just released a draft of the most comprehensive and forward thinking regulations to cut methane pollution from oil and gas yet.
While the April 22 proposal still needs work – such as in the area of how often equipment needs to be inspected and how best to reduce venting associated with well unloading and other activities – it’s a big and fundamental step in the right direction. It has the potential to deliver what the rest of the country needs – comprehensive equipment standards on new and existing sources for both oil and gas operations, and enhanced leak detection and repair requirements across the methane value chain.
But the benefits will be felt closest to home first. Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas