Climate: Carbon capture test reaches milestone

Can carbon capture help mitigate the climate impacts of carbon dioxide?

Can carbon and underground storage capture help mitigate the climate impacts of carbon dioxide?

Heat-trapping greenhouse gas trapped in salt formation beneath shale layer

Staff Report

FRISCO — Engineers in the Midwest say they’ve managed to capture and store 1 million metric tons of CO2 in underground rock and mineral formations, helping to test the long-term viability of carbon-capture technology.

The project is part of the development phase of the Department’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships initiative, which is helping develop and deploy carbon capture and storage technologies across the country. Continue reading

Climate: Colorado’s fossil fuel dinosaurs attack Obama over proposed new methane rules

Proposal targets 40-45 percent cuts by 2015

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Colorado fracking operations waste significant amounts of methane each year through leakage and flaring. The Obama wants to invest in adoption of new capture technologies to help reduce methane emissions.

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More methane means more global warming.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado’s reactionary oil and gas industry once again showed its true colors with a nasty reaction to this week’s White House announcement on methane.

When President Obama said his administration will find ways to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, the fossil fuel dinosaurs roared that it’s nothing but more red tape, showing how they still don’t recognize the existential threat posed by global warming. Continue reading

Beaver ponds seen as source of heat-trapping methane

I got pretty close to the Beaver, but the light wasn't ideal for an animal portrait.

Beavers are thriving — and as their populations grow, so do emissions of heat-trapping methane from their ponds. 

Shallow ponds and wetlands provide ideal conditions for methanogenesis

Staff Report

FRISCO — Long praised — and sometimes faulted — for their industrious nature, beavers may also play a role in the global greenhouse gas equation. As their populations have increased in the past 100 years, hey have created conditions for heat-trapping methane gas to be generated in this shallow standing water, and the gas is subsequently released into the atmosphere.

Canadian researchers say the amount of greenhouse gases released from beaver ponds today is 200 time more than in 1900, when the animals had nearly been eradicated by trappers. The study, published in the journal AMBIO², tried to quantify how growth in beaver numbers in Eurasia and the Americas could be having on methane emissions. Continue reading

Climate: Study eyes seafloor methane releases

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More methane means more global warming.

Thin permafrost cap at risk as oceans warm

Staff Report

FRISCO — Arctic scientists say a thin cap of seafloor permafrost that caps potent greenhouse gases will probably start to leak more as the oceans warm.

The research focused on the Kara Sea near Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula, where recent permafrost sinkholes have triggered concerns about increasing releases of methane. Continue reading

More methane woes – study tracks abandoned well emissions

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Concentrations of heat-trapping methane are increasing steadily in the Earth’s atmosphere.

‘What surprised me was that every well we measured had some methane coming out …’

FRISCO — Fixing leaky pipes and other equipment at operational oil and gas wells would go a long way toward cutting emissions of heat-trapping methane pollution, but wells that were abandoned decades ago could be another big source of the potent greenhouse gas.

Princeton University researchers recently tested several abandoned oil and natural gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, finding that many of the old wells leaked substantial quantities of methane. By some estimates, there are as many as 3 million abandoned wells across the U.S. Continue reading

Global warming: Court says California planners must consider climate impacts of emissions from the transportation sector

Colorado travelers can expect some lane closures along I-70 the next few weeks as CDOT repairs the road surface.

Effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global level means tackling transportation, which accounts for more than 25 percent of all CO2 emissions in the U.S. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO —Planners and elected officials may not be able to ignore the climate impacts of transportation for much longer. A California appeals court last week ruled against the San Diego Association of Governments in a lawsuit centered on a freeway oriented plan that fails to assess climate and public health risks of a transportation plan that invests heavily in freeways and subsidizes sprawl at the expense of public transit.

The transportation sector is the second biggest source of greenhouse gases (28 percent, just behind power generation (32 percent). he majority of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are CO2 emissions resulting from the combustion of petroleum-based products, like gasoline, in internal combustion engines.

According to the EPA, the largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions include passenger cars and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans. These sources account for over half of the emissions from the sector. The remainder of greenhouse gas emissions comes from other modes of transportation, including freight trucks, commercial aircraft, ships, boats, and trains as well as pipelines and lubricants. Continue reading

Report: No gains in U.S. airline fuel efficiency

Industry foot-dragging continues,; lawsuits pending

An Iceland Air jet flies over Greenland en route from Reykjavik to Denver. bberwyn photo.

An Iceland Air jet flies over Greenland en route from Reykjavik to Denver. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — U.S. airlines aren’t making much progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation. Despite some improvement by individual airlines, the analysis showed there was  no net improvement in the fuel efficiency of U.S. domestic operations from 2012 to 2013.

The nonprofit organization also calculated that two of the most fuel efficient carriers  — Alaska and Spirit — had the highest operating profit margins in 2013. Meanwhile less-efficient carriers like Allegiant made profits while using old, polluting and less efficient aircraft. The study findings contradict airline industry arguments that fuel costs automatically push airlines to maximize efficiency. Continue reading

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