New federal data show global atmospheric concentrations of methane at a record high just as a separate Harvard study shows the US oil and gas industry is emitting far more methane than earlier estimated.
Methane is Top Climate Problem
Scientific evidence is mounting that methane leakage from the natural gas industry — and from fracking in particular — is the top driver of climate change. The press release accompanying the UN’s Global Methane Assessment states that “cutting methane is the strongest lever we have to slow climate change.” Duke University’s Dr. Drew Shindell, lead author of the UN assessment, said, “One thing the report calls for very strongly is not building any more of this fossil fuel infrastructure. When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.” Dr. Shindell has joined us in making the same argument to Gov. Roy Cooper, appealing to him to stop Duke Energy’s massive gas expansion. More info below and on our Duke Energy Gas Expansion page.
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Locked down for a full year now, there was at least one bright spot: The clear drop in air pollution in 2020. But now there’s even a blot on that. This week the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that methane, the second biggest driver of global warming and a major contributor to air pollution, spiked upward last year with the highest growth rate in NOAA’s 37-year record. What’s going on?
Methane levels in the atmosphere surged during 2020, marking the biggest increase since records began in 1983, in what scientists called a worrying development for the planet.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas production in its annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, according to new research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The research team found 90 percent higher emissions from oil production and 50 percent higher emissions for natural gas production than EPA estimated in its latest inventory.
“The climate crisis demands that we stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure immediately,” Duke University climate scientist Drew Shindell, 40 former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials and leaders of the environmental group NC WARN wrote to Cooper and Duke Energy on Sept. 14.
A globally prominent expert on methane’s impacts on the climate is urging Governor Roy Cooper and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to lead a cooperative effort for North Carolina to help slow the global climate emergency. In a letter signed by 40 former EPA officials from this state, Dr. Drew Shindell said lessons from the ongoing pandemic and the cancelled Atlantic Coast fracked gas Pipeline (ACP) provide a critically important opportunity to spring forward to a more equitable and economically timely “new normal” while a return to business as usual could be disastrous.
See the Op-Ed Running in the N&O, Charlotte Observer, Durham Herald-Sun, NC Policy Watch, and the Fayetteville Observer
If only 3% of gas produced is leaked, gas is worse for the climate than coal. Yet it’s more than 3%. BP says it’s 3.2%. And a recent study of the Permian Basin found that 3.7% was lost in the production process. What’s this telling us? This is the gas industry’s ‘Volkswagen’ moment.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a long way from being constructed, but it’s already proving a leaky conduit for cash.
A new study published in the British journal Nature has dramatically boosted earlier evidence that the accelerated use of “natural” gas by U.S. electricity corporations is a key driver of the climate crisis that has belatedly gripped the public’s attention.
To the naked eye, there is nothing out of the ordinary at the DCP Pegasus gas processing plant in West Texas, one of the thousands of installations in the vast Permian Basin that have transformed America into the largest oil and gas producer in the world. But a highly specialized camera sees what the human eye cannot: a major release of methane, the main component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas that is helping to warm the planet at an alarming rate.