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
Also posted in General, Methane
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
The oil and gas industry has been busy the last few years trying to respond to significant environmental concerns raised by an often skeptical public. While there have been noteworthy improvements in how industry conducts business and how regulators oversee this activity, more needs to be done to manage risks.
In an invited guest editorial in this month’s Journal of Petroleum Technology, EDF Senior Policy Director Scott Anderson offers our assessment of where efforts to protect water need to focus at this juncture. The editorial is re-posted with permission of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Read the full editorial here.
Image Source: Flickr user Jeremy Buckingham
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
Wyoming has worked to build a reputation as a leader on strong, sensible requirements to limit air pollution from oil and gas development. The state was among the first to require measures to limit pollution from newly drilled oil and gas wells (so-called “green completions”) and has been diligent in recent years to create one of the nation’s best leak detection and repair programs in the Upper Green River Basin (UGRB), a portion of the state that had been plagued with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Historically, Wyoming hasn’t waited for federal regulations, it has helped blaze the trail and let others follow.
That is what makes the state’s proposal for new statewide oil and gas air quality requirements disappointing. Wyoming is now looking at ways to reduce oil and gas emissions statewide and the state’s Air Quality Advisory Board will consider new requirements at a hearing in Cheyenne tomorrow—but frequent inspections to find and fix leaks are completely absent from the proposal. This is a problem we hope the state will quickly solve. Read More
Also posted in Air Quality, Wyoming Tagged LDAR