The dangers of methane emissions

I contributed the prompt “climate” for Linda’s Just Jot It January today. I actually haven’t been using the prompts other than as usual for Stream of Consciousness Saturdays, but figured I should use the one I suggested. 😉

I have written often about climate change, growing out of my commenting on the fracking battle. I have done some posts on these topics here on Top of JC’s Mind, although most of my writing has been in comment sections on articles on environmental topics.

As you may know, while we hear the most about atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, atmospheric methane has also been rising to record levels. This is especially worrisome because, over a twenty year timeframe, methane is about 86 times as potent in heat trapping potential as carbon dioxide. Given that humanity is facing a critical window to lower greenhouse gas levels to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, with a goal of 1.5 degrees, methane emissions are very dangerous as they could push the earth into some tipping points, such as permafrost melting and the release of methane hydrates from cold water seas, that would accelerate rather than slow global warming.

Enter the terrible problem of the Porter Ranch methane storage well leak. Not only is this leak causing evacuations, illness, a no-fly zone, and explosion risk, but also a 21% increase in the state of California’s methane emissions. This one leak amounts to 2.3% of the total carbon footprint of the state.

I want to share a Living on Earth interview with Dr. Anthony Ingraffea which aired recently. Tony Ingraffea was one of the heroes of the battle against fracking here in New York State and helped to raise the alarm, nationally and internationally, on the dangers of methane emissions from shale oil/gas development, processing, transport, and use. He has recently retired from Cornell University. I was fortunate to have heard him speak on a number of occasions during the fracking fight in New York. Ithaca is only about an hour’s drive from here.

I hope that the enormity of the Porter Ranch leak and the damage it is causing will mobilize people, especially policymakers, in the United States to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
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Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

16 thoughts on “The dangers of methane emissions”

    1. Actually, there are a number of forces at work that are changing the economics of fossil fuels. The low price of oil and methane has made a lot of the unconventional methods of extraction, such as shale and coal bed fracking and tar sands, uneconomic. When you add in carbon pricing and pollution controls by various states and countries, there are significant problems with the fossil fuel companies’ finances.

      Meanwhile, the price of renewables is dropping. Solar costs are way down from just a few years ago. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuel electricity in a number of markets. The potential for off-shore wind is huge for countries like the US and Canada, which can build on technology and successes of European countries like Denmark.

      It’s still going to be a battle, but I hope that after the Paris agreement, the world is finally on the right track.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t pretend to understand a lot of it. Canada’s new prime minister recently went to that important conference on climate in Paris. I hope something will be done, a shift in how the world sees the risks. I fear nothing will happen and my niece and nephews will deal with the consequences, after I am no longer here to see what happens.
    I do care a lot about the state of the oceans because I love them and all marine life. It’s sad what we can do as humans, but so many people keep denying there’s realy even an issue in the first place. Why do they not care? How are they so oblivious and unconcerned?
    😦

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    1. I do think that the Paris talks were a turning points. To get 195 countries to agree to work together is a good sign! It’s also good that many large multi-national corporations are committed to cutting carbon emissions because that will generate a lot of innovation and pressure on other companies to keep up.

      The oceans are warming and absorbing a lot of carbon dioxide. I hope that climate action will help restore the ocean community. There is no doubt that a lot of damage has already been done, but the hope is that work on renewable energy will accelerate and replace fossil fuels more quickly than currently projected.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Barbara. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on these topics. I’ve been appreciating your posts on domestic violence. Not something that I can click “like” for, but so important for people to be educated about.

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  2. You know, I know global warming is a problem, but I honestly don’t know much about all the contributing factors. I try to recycle and we carpool (or rather I walk a lot to places) but I don’t think us alone doing this helps much. I know there was some debate about some fracking thing near where I lived. Supposedly caused earthquakes (which is highly unnatural for this area) and there were protests, but I’m not sure if they stopped? I don’t know.

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    1. The actions of individuals do add up, but governments and companies need to step up on the big policy changes needed.

      Fracking itself can cause earthquakes, but the more common cause of earthquakes related to fracking is from the wastewater from fracking being disposed of by injecting it into old wells.

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