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Record 4-year Global Heating Continues As Whistleblower Complaint Leads to Inquiry into Underreporting of Methane Emissions — Note to Editors from NC WARN

NC WARN’s whistleblower complaint leads to inquiry into underreporting of methane emissions from the US gas industry

Durham, NC – Below are four related points that are quite important to the future of humanity and all creatures:

  • NOAA scientists just announced that, through May, the global average temperature makes 2017 the second hottest year on record. For the fourth straight year, the Earth has been well above any previous global record – a disturbing surprise to climate scientists.
  • Leading climatologist James Hansen and his team documented last October that the global greenhouse gas problem has increased 20 percent in the past decade “mainly due to the resurging growth of atmospheric methane” from fossil fuel emissions and from wetlands releasing more methane due to global warming itself.
  • The ongoing heat wave supports Cornell scientists and others who argue the methane that’s leaking and being vented throughout the natural gas supply chain – from wells to power plants – is a key factor in the unexpected rate of heating since 2014. The US fracking boom is being driven by Duke Energy and other utilities burning more and more shale gas.
  • The EPA’s inspector general’s office announced Wednesday that it will evaluate EPA methane emissions estimates for the oil and gas sector to determine “whether concerns about technical or other problems with [the Allen studies of 2013 and 2014] were … addressed or resolved” by the EPA. Those problems were the subject of a June 2016 complaint filed by NC WARN, with support from whistleblower Touché Howard, charging that high-ranking EPA officials directly knew that devices used in the two critical studies of methane leakage and venting at fracking gas sites were badly underreporting emissions.

It is cost-effective to capture methane – instead of spewing it into the air from pipelines and equipment. But the gas and power industries are fighting regulations requiring them to do so – even though most of those corporations can charge their customers for the expenses of capturing the methane instead of releasing it into the air.

All this is why the NC NAACP, NC WARN and allies are calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to take bold state action to ban the import and use of fracked gas in North Carolina.

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