1. Methane is a supercharged climate pollutant
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas packing a climate punch 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it is released. More than a third of the climate impact we feel today is caused by short-lived pollutants, including methane, which accounts for most of that amount. These emissions are worsening already extreme weather patterns responsible for more frequent, higher intensity storms. And, in the absence of action, these trends are expected to accelerate.
2. The oil and gas industry is responsible for over 7 million tons of methane pollution
The U.S. oil and gas sector is estimated to release more than 7 million metric tons of methane emissions into the atmosphere each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas
Regulators Bless Plans to Use Information Developed by Environmental Defense Fund and Google in $900M Pipeline Upgrade Program to Improve Safety, Reduce Waste and Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
New York and New Jersey, like many older communities in the US, have thousands of miles of old, leak-prone gas lines under their streets, some dating back to the late 1800s. Besides safety concerns, this leaking natural gas – which is mostly methane – is a potent greenhouse gas and a huge waste that’s ultimately paid for by utility customers. While major leaks posing immediate risk are typically fixed quickly, thousands of others can persist for months or years.
Until now, it’s been hard to measure the problem on a large scale, or to use that information to better focus on upgrades with the biggest benefit for the buck. Read More
Today, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its latest World Energy Outlook, which projects how global energy systems will evolve between now and 2040 and estimates their relative impact on the climate. This annual report always offers important insight into where some of the world’s top experts see the global energy sector heading. But what’s particularly striking this year is its highlight on oil and gas methane, among other interesting conclusions.
The report confirms and builds on IEA’s findings from earlier this summer — that global emissions could peak by 2020 without slowing economic growth, and that reducing methane emissions from the world’s oil and gas industry is one of the fastest, biggest opportunities to make significant climate progress now.
In particular, the gas chapter includes this important takeaway:
"The oil and gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions, a potent contributor to climate change. Outside North America, the absence of robust policy action in this area represents a major missed opportunity to tackle near-term warming. The available evidence suggests that a relatively small number of emitters may account for a large share of overall emissions, but tracking and fixing these leaks – which can be short-lived and intermittent – requires a systematic effort of measurement, reporting and monitoring, backed up by effective regulation." Read More
In case you missed it, PBS NewsHour recently took a close look at an issue EDF has been deeply involved in: oil and gas methane emissions.
PBS captured what many across the country have experienced for years – frustration with a significant waste and pollution problem. U.S. oil and gas drillers emit millions of tons of methane into the air every year. This pollution increases global warming and deteriorates air quality. As impacted rancher Don Schreiber in Gobernador, New Mexico told the reporter, the problem is “sobering.” Read More
Bill Gates, in an interview with The Atlantic, reminded us that if Thomas Edison were alive today, he’d probably recognize a lot of our energy infrastructure – batteries and most coal plants, for example. Gates argued in the interview that we need to drastically speed up the pace of innovation to bring our energy infrastructure out of the Victorian era. But how do we change how we make and use energy? It touches everything we do, but in less than a decade we will be living, working, and traveling differently.
That’s where I –and EDF – come in. I joined EDF this fall after working as a lawyer, consultant and accelerator for business-social collaborations, and I’ve found that it takes all kinds of skills and experiences to set ambitious targets and turn the impossible into the inevitable. From energy retrofits for churches to starting a clean energy incubator with global energy companies, I’ve attacked the challenge of achieving a low-carbon future from many angles. I’ve been drawing on all of that experience since joining EDF, at what’s proving to be an exciting time for climate change leadership. Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas
A growing chorus of voices from across the West is voicing its support for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to address oil and gas methane emissions and waste on public and tribal-owned lands.
New rules currently being considered by the Department of the Interior will help address the more than $300 million worth of gas wasted by the oil and gas industry each year on these lands. By keeping gas in the pipe and out of the air they will also help states and tribal communities realize additional tax and royalty payments that are crucial for investment in the educational, health care and infrastructure needs. It’s why so many communities are encouraging BLM to move forward with strong policies aimed at reducing the waste of this resource.
On October 19, two former BLM directors sent a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget calling for tough new rules on methane emissions. Bob Abbey and Mike Dombeck wrote that the rule would curb natural gas waste and generate welcome revenue for state and tribal governments. They applauded BLM’s leadership to address the problem, noting the Bureau “has the obligation to the American taxpayer to minimize the waste of public resources and avoid harm to public health and the environment.” Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas