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Author Topic: Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution  (Read 19632 times)

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AGelbert

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    • Renwable Revolution

  Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry   


Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong.
By Bill McKibben

SNIPPET:
Quote
Howarth and Ingraffea  began producing a series of papers claiming that if even a small percentage of the methane leaked—maybe as little as 3 percent—then fracked gas would do more climate damage than coal. And their preliminary data showed that leak rates could be at least that high: that somewhere between 3.6 and 7.9 percent of methane gas from shale-drilling operations actually escapes into the atmosphere.

To say that no one in power wanted to hear this would be an understatement . The two scientists were roundly attacked by the industry; one trade group    called their study the “Ivory Tower’s latest fact-free assault on shale gas exploration.” Most of the energy establishment joined in. An MIT team, for instance, had just finished an industry-funded  ;D report that found “the environmental impacts of shale development are challenging but manageable”   ; one of its lead authors, the ur-establishment energy expert Henry Jacoby  , described the Cornell research as “very weak.” One of its other authors, Ernest Moniz , would soon become the US secretary of energy; in his nomination hearings in 2013, he lauded the “stunning increase” in natural gas as a “revolution” and pledged to increase its use domestically.

The trouble for the fracking establishment  was that new research kept backing up Howarth and Ingraffea. In January 2013, for instance, aerial overflights of fracking basins in Utah found leak rates as high as 9 percent. “We were expecting to see high methane levels, but I don’t think anybody really comprehended the true magnitude of what we would see,” said the study’s director. But such work was always piecemeal, one area at a time, while other studies—often conducted with industry-supplied data—came up with lower numbers.

* * *

That’s why last month’s Harvard study came as such a shock. It used satellite data from across the country over a span of more than a decade to demonstrate that US methane emissions had spiked 30 percent since 2002.

The EPA had been insisting throughout that period that methane emissions were actually falling, but it was clearly wrong—on a massive scale. In fact, emissions “are substantially higher than we’ve understood,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted in early March.

The Harvard study wasn’t designed to show why US methane emissions were growing—in other parts of the world, as new research makes clear, cattle and wetlands seem to be causing emissions to accelerate. But the spike that the satellites recorded coincided almost perfectly with the era when fracking went big-time.

 
 
To make matters worse, during the same decade, experts had become steadily more worried about the effects of methane in any quantity on the atmosphere.

Everyone agrees that, molecule for molecule, methane traps far more heat than CO2—but exactly how much wasn’t clear. One reason the EPA estimates of America’s greenhouse-gas emissions showed such improvement was because the agency, following standard procedures, was assigning a low value to methane       and measuring its impact over a 100-year period. But a methane molecule lasts only a couple of decades in the air, compared with centuries for CO2. That’s good news, in that methane’s effects are transient—and very bad news because that transient but intense effect happens right now, when we’re breaking the back of the planet’s climate.

The EPA’s old chemistry and 100-year time frame assigned methane a heating value of 28 to 36 times that of carbon dioxide; a more accurate figure, says Howarth, is between 86 and 105 times the potency of CO2 over the next decade or two.

If you combine Howarth’s estimates of leakage rates and the new standard values for the heat-trapping potential of methane, then the picture of America’s total greenhouse-gas emissions over the last 15 years looks very different: Instead of peaking in 2007 and then trending downward, as the EPA has maintained, our combined emissions of methane and carbon dioxide have gone steadily and sharply up during the Obama years, Howarth says.

We closed coal plants and opened methane leaks, and the result is that things have gotten worse.

Full article
with irrefutable hard scientific data (that the liars and crooks working for the fossil fuel industry will, of course, rush to try to deny with mendacious propaganda  ).



http://www.thenation.com/article/global-warming-terrifying-new-chemistry/

Please pass this on . These dirty stinking fossil fuel industry crooks, their front men in government, their bought and paid for scientists and their propagandist scum need to be held accountable for degrading our biosphere AND our democracy.   
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

 

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