Energy Exchange

New analysis shows golden opportunity for New Mexico to dramatically reduce oil and gas methane pollution

By Jon Goldstein and Hillary Hull

A new EDF analysis reveals that, over the next five years, New Mexico policymakers have the opportunity to eliminate up to 60% of methane emissions stemming from the oil and gas industry by implementing a suite of nationally leading controls.

Methane is a potent climate pollutant and the main ingredient in natural gas. Methane that escapes from oil and gas facilities is damaging to the climate and the state’s economy.

Our analysis finds that by implementing leading practices for methane capture, New Mexico can make a serious dent in its headline-making pollution problem, save more than $5 billion worth of natural gas and add more than $730 million to the state budget over the next decade. These measures will protect children’s health and improve education funding for the next generation of New Mexicans.

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Also posted in Air Quality, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Can fossil fuel companies find a place in a climate-friendly world?

We have to transform our energy system to avert the worst impacts of climate change. And if oil and gas companies want a place in that future, they must transform themselves—or else be consigned to history. Is it realistic to think fossil fuel companies could be part of the solution? Plenty of reasonable people say no, but I think constructive engagement with some in the industry can speed the transition. A few companies have taken meaningful steps in the right direction. To secure a place in the future, however, they need to think bigger and move faster.

The challenge is urgent and stark: The world’s economy needs to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions early in the second half of the century to achieve what science says is necessary. Net-zero means putting no more carbon into the atmosphere than we can take out. To hit this ambitious global goal, Europe, the U.S. and other advanced economies must get to net-zero, 100% clean economies by 2050.

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Also posted in Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Trump’s EPA moves one step closer to dangerous proposal to eliminate methane pollution standards

By Rosalie Winn

Over the last several weeks, widespread reporting has documented the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change. Recent reports have shown White House attempts to block a senior state department official’s testimony on climate change, and documents that EDF recently obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests show Trump administration advisor William Happer coordinating closely with the Heartland Institute to discuss work that sought to undermine climate science.

At the same time, the Trump EPA has likely taken another step towards entirely deregulating a powerful climate pollutant. Last week, the Trump EPA sent to the Office of Management and Budget a proposal that is expected to entirely eliminate direct regulation of methane from the oil and gas sector — an action that is starkly at odds with the overwhelming body of scientific evidence on the harmful nature of methane pollution and one that even some of the biggest industry leaders have come out publicly against.

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Also posted in Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Industrial methane emissions are underreported, study finds

By Amanda Garris

Emissions of methane from the industrial sector have been vastly underestimated, researchers from Cornell and Environmental Defense Fund have found.

Using a Google Street View car equipped with a high-precision methane sensor, the researchers discovered that methane emissions from ammonia fertilizer plants were 100 times higher than the fertilizer industry’s self-reported estimate. They also were substantially higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate for all industrial processes in the United States.

“We took one small industry that most people have never heard of and found that its methane emissions were three times higher than the EPA assumed was emitted by all industrial production in the United States,” said John Albertson, co-author and professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It shows us that there’s a huge gap between a priori estimates and real-world measurements.”

The researchers’ findings are reported in “Estimation of Methane Emissions From the U.S. Ammonia Fertilizer Industry Using a Mobile Sensing Approach,” published May 28 in Elementa. The work was funded in part by a grant from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s joint research program with EDF. Read More »

Also posted in Climate / Comments are closed

Three key questions for EU policymakers considering the sustainability of gas

In response to DG Energy’s invitation that the European gas industry investigate the ways it can contribute to the reduction of methane, a powerful climate pollutant, two prominent trade groups issued a new report to inform policy discussions around the 2020 gas package – also touted as the decarbonisation package – ahead of the 32nd Madrid Forum in Spain this week.

At nearly 150 pages, the Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) and Marcogaz report is a substantial review of best practices for reducing oil and gas methane emissions. For all of its heft, however, the report does little to spell out any relevant policy recommendations to improve the industry’s overall efficiency, skirting its responsibility to advise the Commission on methane policy when it is such a pressing sustainability question to answer in the Union Methane Strategy before the end of 2019.

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Also posted in Europe, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Industry’s shift on methane must continue

Put aside any notion that oil and gas industry leaders might be growing less focused about methane. Whether motivated by economics or pressure from major investors, the overwhelming impression we’ve had at major industry gatherings this year has been just how deeply methane emissions have permeated the conversation.

At some moments, this year’s CERAWeek felt as much like a climate conference as an oil and gas convention.

That’s not to say the problem is solved, or that our work is anywhere near done. To the contrary, the shift is a reflection of how much more lies ahead now that the issue has been firmly established. What is clear, however, is the widespread recognition that how companies handle methane is a core business challenge that will help shape the gas industry’s prospects in a decarbonizing energy landscape.

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Also posted in Methane regulatons / Comments are closed