Tag archives for methane

It is often called “fire ice”:  Around the world, cage-like lattices of water molecules trap untold stores of methane gas.  Petroleum engineers have been familiar with these frozen compounds—properly known as methane hydrates—for years, because they block the flow of oil in pipelines. The effects of methane hydrates were highlighted in 2010, when British Petroleum’s…

Almost all of the climate-affecting methane leaks from the oil and gas infrastructure could be reduced at relatively little expense, often by simply tightening bolts or replacing worn seals, suggests a new study by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force released today. (See related story: “Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy.”) The report…

Emissions of the potent heat-trapping gas, methane, the main component of natural gas, are likely 50 percent higher than U.S. government has estimated in its official greenhouse gas inventory, says a new study that is the most comprehensive effort yet to assess the problem. But the team of scientists, after reviewing more than 200 earlier…

A new study challenges our understanding of natural gas as a clean fuel, and raises new questions about the U.S. energy boom. Sure, natural gas (or methane, its main component) burns with less pollution than coal, but release it directly to the atmosphere and it is a highly potent greenhouse gas–at least 25 times worse…

Global greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever. What’s to be done? “Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map,” a special report [pdf] by the International Energy Agency (IEA), was released on Monday, and the findings are sobering. (See related story: “What’s Behind the New Warning on Global Carbon Emissions?“) In 2012 energy-related, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions…

Water samples in Pennsylvania suggest there may be natural pathways for contamination. Drinking water contamination from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — a k a fracking — for natural gas in Pennsylvania, does it occur? No, say the gas companies (and many geologists). A new paper adds a “but.” Many Say It Can’t Happen There…

Our neighbor to the south plans to swim against the tide. The tide in question is the world’s rising emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), and with the March 2012 data from the Mauna Loa Observatory now in, that tide has risen to new heights. At 394.45 parts per million, it is the highest monthly average…

Under a new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, new oil and gas wells that are hydraulically fractured—or “fracked”—will have to use new equipment to capture the gases that escape, rather than releasing them into the air or burning them off. Hydraulic fracturing has been in use since the 1950s, but in the past…

Natural Gas for Cars

Does it make climate sense to drive cars with natural gas? Our nation appears to be rapidly moving to a natural gas-powered economy. Advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling have made huge deposits of natural gas in shale and tight sands commercially viable. (See “Hydrofracturing: An Energy Revolution.”) Suddenly the United States is…

Congressional deadlock and new scientific insights force new direction. The news on the avoid-dangerous-climate-change front seems to get ever bleaker. On the Policy Side, Little to No Progress The probability of a U.S. policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions any time soon is as close to zero as you can get — President Obama said…

Highlights from a workshop on the environmental and social implications of fracking. A group of the nation’s leading experts on energy and the environment are at Duke this week attending a workshop to try to ferret out the facts (and tamp down the hype) around shale gas and fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural…

In November, the Obama administration decided to delay a decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to bring tar sands from Canada to the United States. But in December, Republicans attached a provision to a tax bill, which President Obama signed, that urges the administration to decide on the pipeline within 60 days,…

Whether you view the six-week stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day as a license for gluttony or as a treacherous onslaught of health-jeopardizing temptations, you’ll find no shortage of media advice on how to make the most (or the least) of the season. That advice, particularly in America, typically revolves around food. But as…

A smoking gun in the form of methane isotopes links the two. Shale Gas: Game Changer or Potential Problem? The abundant, cleaner-burning fossil fuel known as shale gas has been hailed as a bridge fuel that’ll allow the transition from coal to a renewable-fueled future. Not only that, drilling for shale gas has propped up…

Nobody likes a methane leak. Now, now, don’t go there. We’re talking about leaks from natural gas production — and more specifically from horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing (or fracking) to extract natural gas locked inside shale. A look at the seesaw saga of the so-called bridge fuel to a bright, clean, renewable-fueled future. First came the natural gas “gold rush” …

The Shale Quandary

Does the good outweigh the bad? The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s report on “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2009” was officially released on March 31st. Two of its key conclusions: Total U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases were down by about 5.8 percent relative to 2008 — a…

As scientists assess mounting evidence of a new geologic epoch where human activities will largely control the evolution of our Earth’s environment, they have coined this epoch, “The Anthropocene.” Don’t look now, but you’re living in it.   What we don’t know is whether our influence on climate during the Anthropocene will be a short-term, relatively…