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

Satellites see Four Corners methane ‘hotspot’

‘From space, there are no hiding places …’

The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.

The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The Four Corners region is a methane hotspot, producing the largest concentration of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States. Atmospheric concentrations of the gas are more than three times the standard ground-based estimate, according to a new study of satellite data by scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan. Continue reading

Climate: Scientists call for cuts in methane emissions

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Cutting methane could slow global temperature surge.

Action could help avert climate tipping points

Staff Report

FRISCO — Leading scientists say the U.S. must do more to cut methane emissions from fossil fuel exploitation and other sectors to try and avoid reaching climate tipping points that could have disastrous implications.

Methane is a much more potent heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide, but it only stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years, which means that big cuts could have a tangible short-term benefit in the race to cap global warming. Continue reading

Study: Unchecked methane emissions from fossil fuel exploitation may push Earth past the climate tipping point

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FrackNation … but for how long?

Is natural gas really the lesser of two evils?

Staff Report

FRISCO — As frackers desperately try to pump every last bit of gas from the ground before the global warming clock runs out, scientists warn that methane emissions could push Earth over a climate tipping point in just a few years.

“We have to control methane immediately, and natural gas is the largest methane pollution source in the United States,” said Robert Howarth, greenhouse gas expert and ecology and environmental biology professor at Cornell University. “If we hit a climate-system tipping point because of methane, our carbon dioxide problem is immaterial. We have to get a handle on methane, or increasingly risk global catastrophe.” Continue reading

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