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Oil and gas companies flare natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. Varodrig / Wikimedia Commons

Trump Lets Fracking Companies Release More Climate-Warming Methane

As expected, the U.S. Department of the Interior on Tuesday released a final rule that reverses Obama-era restrictions on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

President Obama's 2016 methane waste rule, which never went into effect, required fossil fuel companies on tribal and public lands to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that's about 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It called on drilling operators to capture leaking and vented methane and to update their leak-detection equipment.

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Politics
Yerbolat Shadrakhov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Trump to Roll Back Obama-Era Methane Rules

The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era rules on methane emissions from oil and gas production, the New York Times reported Monday.

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Climate
Frozen methane bubbles in a thermokarst lake in Alaska. Miriam Jones / USGS

Fast-Melting Lakes Could Increase Permafrost Emissions 118 Percent

Scientists may need to more than double their assessment of how much carbon dioxide and methane thawing Arctic permafrost will release into the atmosphere this century, according to a study published this month.

The paper, published in Nature Communications Aug. 15, said that previous estimates for how greenhouse gasses released by thawing permafrost would contribute to global climate change focused on the slow thawing of permafrost near the surface.

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Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon facility. Scott L / CC BY-SA 2.0

Settlement Reached for Largest Methane Leak in U.S. History

A major California utility has agreed to pay nearly $120 million in a civil settlement over a huge methane leak that forced thousands to flee their homes in 2015.

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Oceans
Plastic pollution on a beach in Hawaii. NOAA

Study Finds New Reason to Ban Plastic: It Emits Methane in the Sun

The proliferation of plastic pollution has led to concerns over its impact on marine life and human health as the toxins it absorbs and emits move up the food chain. Now, a new study reveals yet another potential plastic hazard: It releases greenhouse gasses.

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Sea level rise is a natural consequence of the warming of our planet. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

We Can’t Hide From Global Warming’s Consequences

Over the past few months, heat records have broken worldwide.

In early July, the temperature in Ouargla, Algeria, reached 51.3°C (124.34°F), the highest ever recorded in Africa! Temperatures in the eastern and southwestern U.S. and southeastern Canada have also hit record highs. In Montreal, people sweltered under temperatures of 36.6°C (97.88°F), the highest ever recorded there, as well as record-breaking extreme midnight heat and humidity, an unpleasant experience shared by people in Ottawa. Dozens of people have died from heat-related causes in Quebec alone.

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Climate
The Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro, Oregon. born1945 / CC BY 2.0

Permafrost and Wetland Emissions Could Cut 1.5°C Carbon Budget ‘by Five Years’

By Robert McSweeney

Emissions of CO2 and methane from wetlands and thawing permafrost as the climate warms could cut the "carbon budget" for the Paris agreement temperature limits by around five years, a new study says.

These natural processes are "positive feedbacks"—so called because they release more greenhouse gases as global temperatures rise, thus reinforcing the warming. They have previously not been represented in carbon budget estimates as they are not included in most climate models, the researchers say.

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Politics
The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC. Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump’s Supreme Court Pick: What’s at Stake for Science and the Environment?

By Ken Kimmell

Battle lines over President Trump's nominee for a new U.S. Supreme Court justice are now being drawn, as they should be, over crucial issues such as a woman's right to choose, health care, immigration, civil rights and criminal justice. In past nomination fights, little attention has been paid to the court's role in shaping environmental law and science-based regulation. But it would be a major mistake to overlook these issues now. The Supreme Court has an enormous impact on how U.S. environmental laws are interpreted and enforced, and a new justice could tip the balance against science-based rules on climate change, clean air and clean water.

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Energy
First gas from the Oselvar module burns on the flare of the BP Ula oil platform in the North Sea. Varodrig / CC BY-SA 3.0

Oil and Gas Operations Release 60 Percent More Methane than EPA Thought, Study Finds

A study published Thursday found that U.S. oil and natural gas operations release 60 percent more methane than currently estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a press release from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at University of Colorado, Boulder.

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