Energy Exchange

Canada’s path to reducing methane must be built on all available data

Last week, at the United Nations annual climate conference, Canada joined over 100 other countries pledging to reduce 30% of global methane emissions by the year 2030. Methane is a fast-acting greenhouse gas responsible for over a quarter of human-caused global warming. Reducing methane emissions, along with carbon dioxide, is absolutely critical to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Canada is among the world’s largest methane emitters, and oil and gas is a significant contributor. So consequently, living up to this global commitment of 30% reduction by 2030 will have to include meaningful cuts to oil and gas sector methane emissions.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Canada, Methane, Methane regulatons / Language: / Comments are closed

Turning COP26 methane promises into action

One of the biggest accomplishments from COP26 is the global consensus around the urgent need to reduce methane emissions. More than 100 countries representing more than two-thirds of the global economy promised to collectively reduce 30% of man-made methane emissions by 2030.

The agreement follows recent analysis from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warns there is no plausible pathway to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C without dramatic reductions in both methane emissions and carbon dioxide. We can’t get there through either pathway alone. We have to do both.

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Also posted in Climate, Methane regulatons / Language: / Comments are closed

Here’s what you need to know about EPA’s landmark methane proposal

By Edwin LaMair and Grace Smith

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency proposed methane standards that will, for the first time, apply to the nation’s nearly one million existing oil and gas wells and other facilities. A critical step that charts a path to major emission cuts.

As methane takes the spotlight on the world stage and countries raise their ambition for cutting this potent greenhouse gas, EPA’s final rules will play a central role in U.S. commitments to reducing methane and achieving climate goals.

The proposals to reduce oil and gas methane emissions, the largest industrial source of methane in the U.S., were met with widespread public support, not only from environmental groups, but also health and child advocates, tribal officials and investors concerned about climate risk.

To comprehensively protect our communities and climate, EPA must further strengthen its proposal — as it has stated it plans to do in a supplemental proposal issued next spring — by requiring monitoring across smaller, leak-prone wells and eliminating the wasteful and polluting practice of routine flaring.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Language: / Comments are closed

New research shows Boston methane emissions continue, despite pipe replacement efforts

New peer-reviewed research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and buildings in the Boston area have remained consistently high over the last eight years, despite multiple programs aimed at reducing methane pipeline leakage.

This study indicates that more action is needed in Massachusetts and around the country to tackle the urban methane problem.

A potent greenhouse gas and the primary component of natural gas, methane has at least 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide during the first 10-20 years after release. Emissions from oil and gas operations, livestock and other industries are responsible for at least 24% of current global warming.

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Also posted in Methane / Language: / Comments are closed

Climate planning is key for New York’s gas infrastructure

Next month, the New York Public Service Commission will be deciding whether a rate case settlement proposal between National Grid’s upstate gas and electric utility (Niagara Mohawk) and other groups is in the public interest, and whether the proposal is consistent with New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This is the first major utility rate case to be conducted fully under the CLCPA as effective law, and makes clear the need for commission action to implement standards to achieve state climate goals.

But there is a cloud hanging over this proposal: the utility rate case paradigm guiding this proceeding is outdated and inconsistent with New York’s climate goals.

There is no question that to achieve the CLCPA targets — to reduce New York greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050, below 1990 levels — natural gas use and combustion must decrease significantly. But the commission has not set clear standards to require that gas utilities plan for this transformational future, or to ensure utility rate applications and outcomes are consistent with the law. Decisive action is needed to address this disconnect.

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Also posted in New York / Language: / Comments are closed

FERC, not the Supreme Court, is the right place to fix the Spire pipeline mess

After the D.C. Circuit court vacated Spire STL’s unlawful certificate to operate a 66-mile natural gas pipeline running between Illinois and Missouri in June, Spire last week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the vacatur decision and hand the company back its permission slip.

Not only should the Supreme Court not grant the stay, it shouldn’t even take up the case.

The Spire mess started at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the federal agency designated and empowered by Congress to handle pipeline approvals. And that’s where it should stay.

FERC needs to proceed based on the law as properly administered by the commission and to address the complex facts that warrant the fact-finding review of an expert agency. While FERC’s initial orders authorizing the pipeline were deficient, it has the capability and tools to conduct a fulsome analysis and now has an opportunity to course correct.

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