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.
The identity of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid has been a key policy issue since the beginning of the shale revolution a decade ago. Now, that chemical information just became publicly available in a whole new way.
Today, FracFocus, the nationwide state-run hydraulic fracturing chemical registry database, made its chemical data publicly available as a raw data download – bringing FracFocus into the modern era of Big Data where large information sets can be analyzed for actionable patterns and trends.
In the past, data about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing were obtainable only on a well-by-well basis and only in PDF format. With nearly 100,000 wells registered with the FracFocus program, this made collecting and analyzing broad chemical information a nearly impossible task for researchers and the public. Read More
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
If reducing climate pollution from power plants were a football game, the U.S. team would be halfway to the goal line while fans were still singing the national anthem.
That is, we have already gotten about halfway to the expected goals of the Clean Power Plan – before the rule is even final.
The Clean Power Plan is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) historic effort to place the first-ever limits on climate pollution from our country’s existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants. When it’s finalized this summer, it’s expected to call for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to 2005 levels — but U.S. power plant emissions have already fallen 15 percent compared to 2005 levels.
That’s because renewable energy, energy efficiency resources, and natural gas generation have been steadily deployed and growing for years. Even conservative estimates forecast continued growth of these resources — which makes last week’s report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) seem really strange.
NERC’s report about the Clean Power Plan’s impacts on electric grid reliability makes predictions that starkly contrast from the progress we’re already seeing.
How did this departure from reality happen? Read More
When countries meet in Paris for the United Nations climate talks later this year, their representatives will come armed with the best data, research and ideas on how to reach a climate agreement and avert catastrophic climate change.
But a new report from Rhodium Group, commissioned by Environmental Defense Fund, shows that countries have so far been leaving a huge opportunity on the table: methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
Cutting methane can have a dramatic impact
The report shows that the global oil and natural gas industry is leaking a huge amount of climate-harming methane every year. When released into the atmosphere, this methane has the same climate impact as does 40 percent of carbon dioxide from the world’s coal combustion. Read More
Also posted in General, Methane