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Climate
Collapsed permafrost block of coastal tundra on Alaska's Arctic coast. U.S. Geological Survey / Wikimedia Commons

Melting Permafrost Emits More Methane Than Scientists Thought

By Alex Kirby

Methane emissions are the source of the greenhouse gas which, after carbon dioxide, probably causes climatologists more sleepless nights than any of the other gases. And now it appears they have quite a lot more to bother them than they had realized.

Methane is reckoned to be at least 30 times more powerful than CO2 at warming the earth, with some estimates putting its potency much higher still. The good news, research has suggested, is that there is far less methane than CO2 in the atmosphere to worry about.

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Climate
Alaska's Columbia glacier has melted away, leaving a pool of water in its wake. NASA

Trump Wants to Eliminate NASA’s Climate Research Programs: These Pictures Show What a Loss That Would Be

By Jeremy Deaton

President Trump's proposed 2019 budget would slash funding for NASA's Earth Science Division, and while his budget hasn't gained traction in Congress, it is an important statement of the administration's priorities. In a nod to his allies in the fossil fuel industry, Trump is calling for the elimination of vital programs that monitor carbon pollution and climate change.

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Climate
Thawing permafrost in Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. NPS Climate Change Response

Methane Meltdown: Thawing Permafrost Could Release More Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Expected

A study published in Nature Climate Change Monday shows that thawing permafrost in the Arctic might produce more methane than previously thought. Methane has 28 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of carbon dioxide, so the findings indicate scientists might have to reassess how thawing permafrost will contribute to climate change.

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Energy
Flare from gas well. Ken Doerr / Flickr

Court Orders Trump Administration to Enforce Obama-Era Methane Rule

A federal judge reinstated a widely supported methane waste rule that President Trump's administration has repeatedly tried to stop.

Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled Thursday that Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) decision to suspend core provisions of the 2016 Methane and Waste Prevention Rule was "untethered to evidence."

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Climate
Shale gas drilling site, in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY

How to Reduce Methane Emissions From the Oil and Gas Industry Across North America

By Kate Konschnik and Sarah Marie Jordaan

U.S. natural gas production has boomed in the past decade, driving gas prices sharply downward. Natural gas has become a competitive choice for electricity generation, edging out coal. Because gas contains less carbon than coal, greenhouse gas emissions from power plants have dropped, and the U.S. grid has become cleaner, more efficient and more flexible. More natural gas is also entering the power sectors in Mexico and Canada.

But the low-carbon profile of natural gas doesn't tell the whole story. Methane, its primary component, is a powerful greenhouse gas. It leaks to the atmosphere from wells and pipelines, contributing to climate change and reducing the climate benefit of using natural gas.

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Energy
An oil rig near downtown Midland, Texas. RT Eichman / Flickr

'Short-Term Folly': U.S. Adds 38 Percent More Oil and Gas Rigs

By John R. Platt

The number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. has increased an astonishing 38 percent over the past year. That's according to S&P Global Platts Analytics, which reported this week that the country had 1,070 rigs at the end of January, up from just 773 a year earlier.

Experts expressed fear that all of this new development does not bode well for the planet. "This will have a very significant climate impact," said Romany Webb, climate law fellow with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. "The oil and gas industry is a huge source of methane, which is a really potent greenhouse gas. And then on top of that you also have the carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of this oil and gas. So this is very concerning from a climate perspective."

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Energy
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Methane Reporting Gap Widens in Oil and Gas Industry

As investors increasingly focus on the risk of climate change in their portfolios, a new report from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) shows some oil and gas companies are exposing themselves to scrutiny by failing to adequately disclose meaningful information on emissions of methane, the heat-trapping pollutant that is drawing increased attention from the public.

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Food
Candus Camera / Shutterstock

You Can Fight Food Waste With These 4 Apps

By Hannah Saulters

Spoiler alert: As much as 40 percent of the food produced in America ends up at the dump, off-gassing methane and contributing to climate change. And we consumers bear a great deal of the blame.

Become part of the solution with these free apps. Three of the four require a critical mass of users to create a sharing economy, so even if an app isn't yet functional in your community, go ahead, sign up and encourage other locals to do the same.

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Climate
Smoggy downtown Houston. Kyle Jones / Flickr

Most EPA Pollution Estimates Are Unreliable, So Why Is Everyone Still Using Them?

By Rachel Leven

Engineer Jim Southerland was hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1971 to join the nascent war on air pollution. He came to relish the task, investigating orange clouds from an ammunition plant in Tennessee and taking air samples from strip mines in Wyoming. Among his proudest accomplishments: helping the agency develop a set of numbers called emission factors—values that enable regulators to estimate atmospheric discharges from power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants and other industrial operations.

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