Chris Mooney has a piece up at the Washington Post where he’s warning everyone that the United States may miss its own goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and the likely culprit is methane. The article ties in the results of the recent Paris climate meetings (which are still not and likely never will be binding on us) and the effects of the White House’s so called Clean Power Plan. That disaster on wheels is already being challenged in court by multiple states, but let’s set that aside for a moment. Mooney’s article digs into the question of how heavily methane is weighed when considering total greenhouse gases and why it may push us over the original estimates cited by the EPA.
So why are we so off? Here’s where the new research partly merges with one of the most contentious matters in current climate policy — the question of how much of the fast-acting greenhouse gas methane we’re emitting, and where it is coming from.
Earlier this year, the U.S. EPA increased its estimate for how much methane is being emitted by the oil and gas sector, and by the U.S. overall, in recent years. The new study has more or less done something similar.
“We made some corrections to the 2005 and 2025 estimates for methane,” says Greenblatt. In particular, he said, in 2005 these changes added 400 million additional tons of carbon dioxide equivalents emitted as methane.
What they’re arguing about here is not overall carbon emissions, but the production of methane. Back in May we talked about how the EPA was tightening their regulations on methane emissions in denial of their own science. The reason this is such a frustrating rabbit hole to go down is that this continued argument over methane is a red herring. Even if we are to assume that methane is the worst of the worst, we already know where the methane is coming from and hitting the oil and gas industry isn’t going to help.
How do we know this? Cracking down even further on methane in the oil and gas industry is an empty hole, as NOAA found in their own studies repeatedly. That’s because increases in atmospheric methane aren’t coming from oil drilling. They’re being produced naturally. This isn’t some over-the-rainbow scheme cooked up in a right wing think tank. This data comes from NOAA and matches studies done elsewhere. There’s plenty of methane in the atmosphere alright, but it breaks down into two types.
Thermogenic methane is released from industrial, energy extraction activity. Biogenic methane occurs naturally and is released due to agricultural activity and the melting of typically frozen ground, widely across eastern Europe and western Asia. Thermogenic methane emissions stopped going up in the 90s and haven’t resumed since. It’s the biogenic methane that’s been on the rise.
Meanwhile, environmentalists will keep hammering away in support of the Clean Power Plan as if that’s going to change the situation described above. And as the Attorney General of Texas and others reminded us this week, we’re going to weaken the power grid and drive up consumer costs with this boondoggle without providing any significant reduction in carbon levels. (Fuel Fix)
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Monday that the Obama administration’s new rules reducing carbon emissions from power plants would hurt the Texas grid.
“This rule will inevitably raise rates and reduce reliability for everyone,” he said. The Clean Power Plan “represents an unprecedented extension of federal authority.”
The comments came on the eve of opening arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether the president’s effort to slow climate change is within the bounds of the law. Paxton, alongside West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and other attorneys, was speaking at a panel in Washington hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Americans for Tax Reform.
This entire thing is simply maddening. Everyone is so locked into the cobwebs of the green energy warriors that they won’t even listen to the scientific reports produced by their own government authorities. Meanwhile, it gains a few votes for the Democrats while consumers wind up footing the bill. But when the brownouts start again, don’t come back here saying you weren’t warned.