Episode 28 — Cow Farts — Methane is a Natural Gas — Unintended Consequences — Chapter 9 part 5

Number 4 — Methane [aka “Natural Gas”]

Because windmills generate just 1/3 of their rated capacity, the rest is supplied by plants that primarily burn coal or natural gas — which is 90% methane, which makes more CO2. I repeat: methane, over its lifetime, is 20 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, but during its youth, it is 80 times worse — and the next ten to twenty years are years of deep concern. Gas companies love “renewables”.

“…methane, over its lifetime, is 20 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas…” — Dr. George Erickson

Cows and bogs release methane into the atmosphere, but it’s by far mostly human activity that’s driving up levels of this destructive greenhouse gas. — Alejandra Borunda

Gas Explosions Not Uncommon, Pia Malbran, 10 September 2010

Ground and satellite surveys reveal that huge volumes of “fugitive” methane are leaking from our wells and distribution system. According to WSJ and the pre-Trump EPA, “Natural gas explosions cause death and/or property damage every other day, and U S ”leakage” is equivalent to the emissions from 70 million cars.” (CNN 9–13–18: “1 dead, 24 injured in 30 natural gas explosions in three Boston area towns.”)

Deadly Gas Explosions in 3 Mass. Towns Leave 1 Dead: ‘It Looked Like Armageddon’, 13 September 2018, NBC Boston

Boston Methane Leaks 2021

In Boston, ground-based measurements reveal profuse methane leaks.

The Surprising Root of the Massachusetts Fight Against Natural Gas, by Jenessa Duncombe 21 May 2021

Tree lovers are hunting down the cause of arboreal deaths — and may remake the regional energy system in the process. — Jenessa Duncombe

Boston Common Autumn Trees Boston MA is a photograph by Toby McGuire which was uploaded on November 11th, 2016.
Daily Satellite Observations of Methane from Oil and Gas Production Regions in the United States, 28 January 2020

A survey of oil and gas facilities in Texas and New Mexico revealed 30 so-called “super-emitters,” which are leaking as much heat-trapping pollution as roughly half a million cars. New Report Carbon Mapper and the Environmental Defense Fund

The US natural gas industry is leaking way more methane than previously thought. Here’s why that matters, by Anthony J. Marchese and Dan Zimmerle, 6 July 2018

While we pollute our aquifers by fracking for methane in Texas and elsewhere to assist inefficient wind and solar farms, we are simultaneously flaring (burning) huge volumes of natural gas across much of the Bakken “field” in North Dakota because it’s “too costly” to pipe it to market.

Sarah Feldman

Study Finds EPA Underestimates Methane Emissions, by Sarah Feldman, 3 August 2018

Bakken Flares at Night

Climate crisis: ‘Fracking is over’ in UK, energy minister says, by Harry Cockburn, 19 June 2020

Bakken Flare

“The Bakken field is flaring enough gas to power Chicago AND Washington, DC.” — London Daily Mail

What a waste! Picture from space reveals how new U.S. oil field is burning off enough gas to power Chicago AND Washington — because it’s cheaper than selling it, by Simon Tomlinson, 28 January 2018

Wasting energy: This NASA satellite image shows how the gas being burned off at the Bakken oil field in North Dakota is almost as bright as the light emitted from major U.S. cities such as Minneapolis-St Paul and Chicago

“Women living within 0.6 miles [1,000 meters] of active oil and gas wells were 40% more likely to have babies with low birth weight than those not near active wells.” — California Air Resource Board April 2020

Windmills are, in effect, glorified, heavily subsidized carbon-burners that needlessly create more of the carbon dioxide that we seek to avoid. Were it not for our misguided passion for inefficient renewables, we’d have less need for fracking and less of the environmental damage they cause.

Satellite images of oil and gas basins reveal staggering 9–10% leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. Because of these leaks, fracking accelerates climate change even before the methane it extracts is turned into CO2.

The fatal consequences of high atmospheric methane levels in Climate Change, by Dr Andrew Glikson, 22 January 2021

“In the Permian Basin, operators are wasting enough gas to heat 2 million homes a year.” — EDF, 2021

In 2015, thanks to a “discovered” email message from Lenny Bernstein, a thirty-year oil industry veteran and ExxonMobil’s former in-house climate expert, we learned that Exxon accepted the reality of climate change in 1981, long before it became a public issue — but then, Exxon spent at least $30 million on decades of Climate Change denial.

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says — but it funded deniers for 27 more years, by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent 8 July 2015

Climate Files Hard to Find Documents All in One Place. Top Ten Documents Every Reporter Covering ExxonMobil Should Know by Kert Davies 23 May 2016

Climate Files — Hard to Find Documents All in One Place

In addition, despite studies from Johns Hopkins that reveal an associate fracking and premature births and asthma, Pennsylvania health workers were told by their Department of Health to ignore inquiries that used fracking “buzzwords.”

Johns Hopkins study links fracking to premature births, high-risk pregnancies

Atmospheric levels of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, are spiking, scientists report

And according to a 2014 UN report, atmospheric methane levels have never exceeded 700 parts per billion in the last 400,000 years, but they reached 1850 ppb by 2013.

In 2015, a Duke University study reported: “Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination by radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk.”

Duke Study: Rivers Contaminated With Radium and Lead From Thousands of Fracking Wastewater Spills

Coming up next week, Episode 29 — Methane Blows Up Winds Gains

Links and References

  1. Next Episode — Episode 29 — Methane Blows Up Winds Gains
  2. Previous Episode — Episode 27 — Fake and Vulgar — The Truth Paid Bare
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/methane
  8. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alejandra-borunda-2269b817/
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/22/fossil-fuel-firms-accused-renewable-lobby-takeover-push-gas
  10. https://www.linkedin.com/in/arthur-neslen-a4937712/
  11. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gas-explosions-not-uncommon/
  12. https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/multiple-fires-reported-in-lawrence-mass/135732/
  13. https://eos.org/features/the-surprising-root-of-the-massachusetts-fight-against-natural-gas
  14. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenessaduncombe/
  15. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/boston-common-autumn-trees-boston-ma-toby-mcguire.html
  16. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-57678-4
  17. https://www.edf.org/media/dozens-super-emitting-oil-and-gas-facilities-leaked-methane-pollution-permian-basin-years-end
  18. https://www.yahoo.com/news/large-permian-basin-methane-leaks-171600620.html
  19. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/06/the-us-natural-gas-industry-leaking-way-more-methane-than-ever-before.html
  20. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-j-marchese-897b024/
  21. https://geology.com/articles/oil-fields-from-space/
  22. https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/fracking-ban-uk-kwasi-kwarteng-climate-change-methane-shale-gas-a9575906.html
  23. https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-cockburn-46893182/
  24. https://www.inforum.com/business/bakken-midstream-seeks-fundamental-change-for-north-dakota-natural-gas-industry
  25. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2269517/The-picture-space-shows-U-S-oil-field-burning-gas-power-Chicago-AND-Washington-cheaper-selling-it.html#ixzz5GLKhkvNK
  26. https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-tomlinson-6a926144/
  27. https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/people-risk
  28. https://countercurrents.org/2021/01/the-fatal-consequences-of-high-atmospheric-methane-levels/?
  29. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-glikson-736716111/
  30. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding
  31. https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzanne-goldenberg-68944b1/
  32. https://climateinvestigations.org/top-ten-documents-every-reporter-covering-exxon-should-know/
  33. https://www.climatefiles.com/page/2/
  34. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kert-davies-5523a32/
  35. https://hub.jhu.edu/2015/10/12/fracking-pregnancy-risks/
  36. https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2016/study-fracking-industry-wells-associated-with-increased-risk-of-asthma-attacks
  37. https://truthout.org/articles/where-has-the-waste-gone-fracking-results-in-illegal-dumping-of-radioactive-toxins/
  38. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/11/atmospheric-levels-of-methane-a-powerful-greenhouse-gas-are-spiking-scientists-report/
  39. https://www.unep.org/
  40. https://www.masterresource.org/droz-john-awed/21-bad-things-wind-power-3-reasons-why/
  41. https://www.linkedin.com/in/johndroz/
  42. http://wiseenergy.org/
  43. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1364032114005395

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #TheThoriumNetwork #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #Methane #NaturalGas #Flaring #Fracking #Bakken

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