Saturday, February 26, 2022

PBS Terra and CNBC explain methane and how to reduce its emissions

I concluded UN report predicts wildfires could increase 50% by 2100 "I plan on following up on the methane emissions mentioned in the PBS NewsHour report." I begin with PBS Terra asking This Explosive Gas Is Heating Our Planet. Can We Capture It?

Methane is a molecule that causes a bit of a conundrum: On the one hand, it’s a fuel that burns cleaner than coal or oil (it could be a bridge fuel to reach a renewable energy future, some believe). On the other hand, it’s a greenhouse gas that’s 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Controlling methane leaks and emissions, both climate scientists and activists say, is crucial for controlling global climate change.

Hosts Caitlin Saks and Arlo Perez Esquivel investigate this tricky molecule -- and its dancing abilities -- by tracing it to its source, both in nature and in the city. And they meet with Boston University’s Nathan Phillips and MIT’s Desiree Plata to figure out exactly why this molecule is so efficient at heating both our homes and our planet—and how scientists are trying to stem the flow of the molecule into the atmosphere.
That's a good description of methane and the problems it causes, although it concentrates on leaks from gas pipes as a human-caused source of methane and wetlands as natural sources, giving short shrift to other sources. It also focuses on plugging leaks on pipes and reducing climate change in general as solutions, as melting permafrost releases methane, as solutions.

So, what is the U.S. government doing about the problem? CNBC has two videos about that. First, the big picture from World leaders commit to curbing methane emissions.

CNBC's Diana Olick joins Shep Smith to report on world leaders' promise to curb greenhouse gas emissions at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
While I would have liked to have seen more commitment to reducing carbon dioxide, I'll take reducing methane emissions, conserving ecosystems as carbon sinks, and promoting green technology as necessary if not sufficient steps to reduce climate change. As I wrote in CNBC explains 'Why The U.S. Has A Massive Lithium Supply Problem', "I'm not going to discourage people from investing in green energy. The world needs those people to do something useful with their money."

Speaking of doing something useful with money, CNBC addressed one particular source of methane emissions and what is being done about it in Why The U.S. Has Millions Of Leaking Oil And Gas Wells.

Scattered throughout the U.S. are millions of old oil and gas wells with no known operator. They’re a major source of methane emissions and can leak contaminants into the groundwater. But it’s hard to locate these wells, as many were drilled before modern mapping and recordkeeping technologies became widespread. It’s going to cost billions to clean them up, but for the first time there’s major federal funding devoted to doing just that.
The program to cap abandoned oil and gas wells is not only putting money where the Biden Administration's mouth is about climate change, but also a good example of the green parts of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It's still not enough for me to post Professor Farnsworth, but it's a start.

Now I can type that I'm done examining climate change for February. Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature followed by a post about the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the final post of the month. What, did you think I would ignore a war? Not a chance!

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