Energy Exchange

What a catastrophic gas leak in Pennsylvania means for our climate and health

Image credit: Methane plume from the leak captured by the Sentinel-2 satellite on 9 November (data processed by UNEP/IMEO)

Update: According to the operator, this leak has been plugged.

By Adam Peltz and Jon Goldstein

A natural gas storage site in Western Pennsylvania has sprung a massive gas leak that’s impacting both the climate and the communities who live in Cambria County. 

The leak began Thursday, Nov. 6 at a facility operated by Equitrans Midstream Corporation.  Despite efforts from the company and state officials, it has continued for weeks – causing over 1 billion cubic feet of methane and other pollutants to fill the air.  Its impact is massive – large enough to be seen and quantified from space from the growing network of methane satellites. The near-term warming generated from this single site over the course of a few weeks is roughly equivalent to emissions from 360,000 cars over a year.  

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Key things we learned from studying methane in the nation’s largest oilfield 

By Ben Hmiel and Jon Goldstein

After three years of actively collecting methane emissions data in the Permian Basin, researchers have gained new insights that will make it easier to reduce emissions of the incredibly potent greenhouse gas methane. These insights are helping inform state and federal regulatory approaches at a critical time. 

Download the final report.  Read More »

Also posted in Flaring, Methane, Methane regulatons, New Mexico, PermianMAP, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

Green shipping corridors: criteria for success

By Marie Hubatova

After decades of sailing under the radar, international shipping and its climate impact is gradually getting more attention from other actors than just environmental non-governmental organizations. The shift has also been obvious at the most recent UN Climate Change Conferences.

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U.S. signs global commitment to 100% zero-emission trucks, buses at COP27

By: Jason Mathers and Peter Zalzal

The U.S. made an important commitment at COP27 yesterday that will help reduce climate and air pollution from the dirtiest vehicles on our roads and create a foundation for more ambitious action, which is urgently needed to reduce pollution from trucks and buses.

Joining sixteen nations — as well as several states and cities around the world — Secretary Granholm added the U.S. as a signatory to the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. This commits the U.S. to a goal of 100% zero-emission truck and bus sales by 2040, with an interim goal of 30% new sales by 2030. The global MOU was initiated by CALSTART at COP26 in 2021.

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Research shows gathering pipelines in the Permian Basin leaking 14 times more methane than officials estimate

Methane plume detected on a gathering pipeline during 2021 survey.

Methane plume detected on a gathering pipeline during 2021 survey.

By Erin Murphy and Jevan Yu

Methane emissions from natural gas gathering pipelines in the U.S. Permian Basin are at least 14 times greater than Environmental Protection Agency national inventory estimates, according to new peer-reviewed research from EDF, Stanford University and the University of Arizona. Gathering lines transport unprocessed gas from well sites to processing facilities and vary widely in size and pressure, with diameters ranging from two inches to as large as 30 inches. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with over 84 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere, and this new research indicates the importance of finding and fixing pipeline methane leaks to mitigate the climate crisis.

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Also posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, PermianMAP / Language: / Comments are closed

New study finds flaring source of five times more pollution than previously thought

A new study out today in the journal Science finds that climate-warming methane emissions from flaring, the practice of burning off gas rather than capturing it for productive use, are five times higher than government estimates — primarily due to unlit and malfunctioning flares. Researchers conclude that flares are combusting at a 91% efficiency rate, significantly lower than the 98% efficiency rate that is assumed by operators and policymakers.

These findings confirm that our current environmental standards are not adequately controlling this pollution source and underline the need for urgent regulatory action from the Environmental Protection Agency  and Bureau of Land Management to limit pollution and waste from flaring.

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