The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: World Pledges Aren’t Working…Case in Point- Methane
Dear Diary. Being a scientist that knows that mostly progressive measures can improve the human condition, what happened in my country Friday pertaining to the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion left me with a foul mood over the weekend. I was hoping to see some good news on the climate front on Monday, but there is not much to be had. Instead, I see that yet again the world has made empty pledges on emissions…but not on carbon…this time on methane.
All this news has made me very pessimistic about our future as a species. It will be very interesting to see if more optimistic scientists like Dr. Michael Mann can hold onto hope the next few years, especially if elections in the U.S. put fascistic Republicans back in power.
We know that methane is about 100 times more powerful than carbon as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but thankfully it lingers in the atmosphere for far less time than CO2. Yet, it is important enough that nations do need to cut emissions of the stuff, but have pledges born the fruit of lower atmospheric levels? It doesn’t appear so looking at this new Washington Post article that dropped today:
The world pledged to cut methane. Emissions are rising instead, study finds.
Kayrros, a firm that analyzes satellite data, says emissions of the potent greenhouse gas ‘appear to be going in the wrong direction’
June 27, 2022 at 12:35 p.m. EDT
The John E. Amos coal-fired power plant, owned and operated by Appalachian Power, in Winfield, W.Va. (Stacy Kranitz/FTWP)
Kayrros, a firm that analyzes satellite data, says methane emissions from fossil fuels have intensified, rising faster than the rebound in oil, gas and coal production since the easing of the coronavirus pandemic — a development the firm called “worrisome.”
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In a report issued Monday, Kayrros said methane emissions have climbed despite the launch of the Global Methane Pledge at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, last fall. The firm said that “global methane emissions so far appear to be going in the wrong direction.”
“This is an alarm call for the fossil fuel industry,” said Antoine Halff, co-founder and chief analyst at Kayrros.
About 110 countries have signed on to the Global Methane Pledge, vowing to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas whose climate warming power is more than 80 times that of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years.
In the Permian Basin, the most prolific U.S. oil and gas basin, methane emissions in the first quarter of 2022 jumped 33 percent from the previous quarter, and soared by 47 percent from the first quarter a year earlier. The increase in methane emissions outstripped oil and gas output, thus increasing the methane intensity.
The emissions in the first three months of this year also exceeded emissions in the fourth quarter of 2019 — before the pandemic hit.
Halff said there wasn’t a concrete explanation for the change in methane intensity, but he suggested it could come from the rapid increase in oil and gas drilling over the past few months, including by drillers who might pay less attention to methane releases.
The Kayrros report also said the number of U.S. natural gas super-emitters — the unusually rapid bursts of methane after a leakage incident — has jumped back to 70, the levels reached before the pandemic. At the current pace, the number of super-emitters will reach 168 this year in the United States, with 59 percent coming from the Permian Basin.
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Emissions also climbed in the Appalachian coal fields. Production from the region’s coal mines fell in 2020 amid lower demand due to the pandemic. But methane emissions were slower to decline then, and “as production started to bounce back in 2021, emissions grew faster,” the report says. Production grew 13 percent in 2021, but methane emissions rose 20 percent in the same period.
“The rising methane intensity of Appalachian coal production means that its contribution to climate change has steadily increased even as its contribution to power generation has declined,” the report adds.
In the Marcellus gas basins in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Kayrros found that the methane intensity of gas produced declined after the pandemic hit but has returned close to previous levels.
The Kayrros report also looks at some of the richest fossil fuel reserves in other parts of the world and finds continuing leaks from infrastructure. There have been 47 super-emitters in Turkmenistan this year through Friday — a rapid pace.
Many parts of the world also have been shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In Algeria, methane emissions from the Hassi R’Mel gas basin “rose significantly” in the six months ending in March. Kayrros blamed “old, leaky equipment” that is poorly suited to meet European demand for increased volumes of Algerian gas to replace Russian gas.
More on climate change
Understanding our climate: Global warming is a real phenomenon, and weather disasters are undeniably linked to it. As temperatures rise, heat waves are more often sweeping the globe — and parts of the world are becoming too hot to survive.
What can be done? The Post is tracking a variety of climate solutions, as well as the Biden administration’s actions on environmental issues. It can feel overwhelming facing the impacts of climate change, but there are ways to cope with climate anxiety.
Inventive solutions: Some people have built off-the-grid homes from trash to stand up to a changing climate. As seas rise, others are exploring how to harness marine energy.
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Here are some “ET’s” reported from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:
Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”