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Selected tag(s): Methane

Methane rollbacks test BP, ExxonMobil, Shell commitments to support Paris goals

By Ben Ratner and Nat Keohane

As business executives join leaders from government and civil society for COP24 in Katowice, Poland, a regulatory rollback across the Atlantic puts a sharp focus on the seriousness of energy companies’ commitments to support the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report detailed the devastating consequences from a rapidly warming planet. One critical piece of the solution is reducing emissions of highly potent short-lived climate pollutants. In fact, deep reductions in emissions of non-CO2 pollutants, particularly methane, are essential to staying below temperature targets, and have the added benefits of improving public health, food security, and ecosystems.

The oil and gas industry is a leading source of potent methane emissions. But in the world’s largest oil and gas producing nation—the United States—the Trump Administration is working to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, while simultaneously rolling back common sense standards to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

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National clean air protections are in jeopardy of going away, but Pennsylvania can be protected

Source: Bob Donaldson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced plans to control harmful smog-forming emissions from the state’s existing oil and gas sites. There’s just one problem: their plan is based on national clean air guidelines that are now under attack by President Trump’s EPA. However, by changing this plan, and creating strong state-led policies, Governor Wolf can ensure Pennsylvania remains in control of its own clean air protections.

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Keeping an Important Methane Research Question in Proper Perspective

 

By Mark Brownstein and Steve Hamburg

An organization in North Carolina this week asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to examine questions about the accuracy of measurements from a device used in two of the large and growing list of studies published in recent years quantifying the enormous amounts of methane released into the atmosphere by the U.S. oil and gas industry each year.

That long list of studies is a major reason why EPA recently increased its official estimates of industry emissions by 34 percent, and why the agency is pursuing new rules to start fixing the problem.  In fact oil and gas methane emissions have moved from obscurity to center stage with remarkable speed, thanks to rush of compelling data.

The particular papers at issue were written by a team of scientists led by Dr. David Allen of the University of Texas. They are among of a group of studies on oil and gas industry methane emissions organized and coordinated by EDF. Possible complications involving a piece of sampling equipment (among several that were used) have been discussed by researchers in both academic literature and the news media for more than a year. You can read the blog that EDF wrote on it back in 2015 here. Read More »

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New Poll: U.S. Latino Communities Overwhelmingly Support Clean Air Protections

latinopollPoliticians and political observers are increasing the amount of time spent trying to figure out how to engage with Latino voters – a large and growing part of the American electorate. Issues such as immigration reform usually dominate the discussion nationally, but a new poll from the national polling firm Latino Decisions shows that clean water and healthy air are also of utmost importance for Latinos.

According to their poll 85% of those surveyed found reducing smog and air pollution to be extremely or very important, compared to 80 percent for comprehensive immigration reform.

This comes as no surprise to those of us that are rooted in this community where issues of the health of our communities and families are often top-of-mind around the dinner table.  In reality, it also comes as no surprise to decision makers who have listened to our communities, and know Latinos have rich ties to the outdoors, but are too often the first and worst impacted by pollution. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, California, Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan, Climate, Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas / Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments are closed

Under the Wire: EDF Welcomes SoCalGas Leak Maps

pasadenamapA 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.
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Fly-by: What the Latest Aerial Study of Methane Emissions Tells Us

lockheed1In the summer of 2013, researchers aboard a four-engine P-3 Orion aircraft – a variant of the plane used by the U.S. Navy to track submarines – flew over three of the nation’s biggest shale gas regions, taking measurements that would allow them to estimate the amount of methane leaking from the production fields below.

The team from University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory published their findings this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, adding new depth to our understanding of methane leaks, but also underscoring important questions.

Comparing their readings to production figures for the region, they estimated a total leak rate of 0.18 to 2.8 percent, which is at the low end of the range of findings in other research. For some, this may be cause for celebration.

But don’t pop the champagne corks just yet. Read More »

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