During Natural Gas Production, Up To 9% Of The Methane Is Farted Into The Atmosphere.

Pulling my own finger methane releasing natural gas wells.Just as we were breaking up with dirty coal and starting a new cleaner relationship with natural gas comes news of a gas problem. It turns out the process of capturing natural gas is not as efficient as we thought and that 4-9% of the methane we fracture from the ground is released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is much more potent than carbon dioxide. From Nature:

“The researchers, who hold joint appointments with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado in Boulder, first sparked concern in February 2012 with a study suggesting that up to 4% of the methane produced at a field near Denver was escaping into the atmosphere.

Industry officials and some scientists contested the claim, but at an American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, California, last month, the research team reported new Colorado data that support the earlier work, as well as preliminary results from a field study in the Uinta Basin of Utah suggesting even higher rates of methane leakage — an eye-popping 9% of the total production. That figure is nearly double the cumulative loss rates estimated from industry data — which are already higher in Utah than in Colorado.”

How do we fix the gas problem? According to the Nature article, the EPA issued standards in April 2012 to reduce the amount of air pollution created during the natural gas extraction process. What can you do now? Consume less. [Nature via e360]

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Climate Change Apathy: More Americans Believe Their Actions Will Not Slow Down Climate Change.

Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication

Click to enlarge

According to a survey conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, fewer Americans feel their individual actions will slow down climate change than they did 4 years ago. From the NY Times article:

“Sixty percent said energy-saving habits could help curb climate change if they were adopted by most Americans, down from 78 percent in 2008…”

The authors of the survey did find positives including the increased use of low-energy CFL light bulbs and more carpoolers and mass-transit riders. But this doesn’t take away from the key result of the survey that more Americans feel climate change is out of our control. What would reverse the downward trend and change people’s minds? Maybe telling them geoengineering is plan b. Consume less [NY Times]

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Took The Kids To Watch The Documentary “Chasing Ice.”

After posting an article about the woman who had been changed by watching the film “Chasing Ice,” I made it a priority to see the documentary myself and to bring my kids to it. I wanted to get their take on the film because it’s really about their future.

Chasing Ice - James Balog“Chasing Ice” tracks the efforts of nature photographer James Balog to time-lapse photograph the shrinking glaciers of Iceland, Greenland and Alaska. He is supported by a team of scientists, technicians, and his family. Mr. Balog’s goal was to photograph the glaciers over 3-years and he wasn’t sure what he would capture during that span.

When James Balog and his team piece the photos together, the final video of the glaciers retreating is pretty startling. In some instances, they had to shift their cameras multiple times to keep the receding glaciers in frame. And the melt wasn’t just about the glaciers retreating; the team noticed that the glaciers followed a recede and shrink (in height) pattern.

“Is it too late to do anything?”
Chasing Ice (Film)Right after the movie, I had to find out what my kids and their friend thought about Chasing Ice. They weren’t shocked by the film but they were a little quiet. Then my daughter’s friend asked her dad: “is it too late to do anything?” I think that’s the question the filmmakers wanted viewers to ask themselves after watching the film.

What can we do? On a daily basis, we can all make an effort to live as small as possible but what’s happening in the Arctic circle is bigger than just consuming less. Chasing Ice was the alarm – now we need to take action and develop more effective ways to get our elected officials to listen and act. That is why we’re going to turn this into a series of posts that pick up where the film ends. Check back in a couple weeks for our followup article on what you can do to help make a difference. [Chasing Ice]

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President Obama Adresses Climate Change: Signs Bill Exempting US Airlines From EU Carbon Tax.

Plane flying over Heathrow Airport.The US had a opportunity to take action and lead non-EU countries on the issue of climate change and we did – by going in the opposite direction. The Guardian posted “Obama fails first climate test by rejecting EU aviation carbon regime” about President Obama’s decision to sign into a law a bill exempting US airlines from paying into a European Union carbon tax. It’s part of the EU’s effort to create an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that would assess a tax on flights to Europe that originate in the US. The tax would’ve cost US airlines $3.1 billion by 2020. President Obama claims that addressing climate change is a priority of his second term but it sure feels like getting a member of his own party elected in 2016 is taking precedent. Global Warming 1, Climate Action 0. [The Guardian]

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Watching The Documentary “Chasing Ice” Changes One Viewers Opinion About Climate Change.

From this woman’s reaction to the documentary Chasing Ice, you get the feeling that her newfound concern for global warming is similar to how people felt about the threat of nuclear war. She’s chomping at the bit to take action and spread the word about climate change and that’s good.

I’m hoping to see Chasing Ice next week and I’ll put something up on Jubbling. [CDCW]


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The Inconvenient Truth Is That You Probably Didn’t Vote For Jill Stein.

President Barack ObamaWith this election, we could’ve sent a message to our President that climate change was an important issue but instead, we chose the rock star over the bazillionaire. Neither of the two main candidates wanted to bring up climate change – even a Presidential debate moderator, guided by unseen forces, poked fun at all “you climate change people” and basically pointed out that it’s the economy, stupid. [Wonder how those words will play out in 25 years.]

Hopefully a re-elected President Obama will not forget about the environment in his next four years the way he avoided it at the end of his first term. The normal treehuggers gave him a pass in this election, instead of promoting Jill Stein’s candidacy, because they considered him the least objectionable. Probably not a good position to take but it’s up to the voters to decide.

So congratulations to President Obama. This is it and I hope your final term is about making tough decisions in regard to climate change that will benefit your children and future grandchildren rather than focusing on getting future nominees from your party elected. You don’t have to be a rock star anymore; you just need to be a leader on an issue that is much bigger than any election.

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