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GliderGuider

(21,088 posts)
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 12:53 PM Jan 2013

NOAA Confirms High Methane Leakage Rate Up To **9%** From Gas Fields

NOAA Confirms High Methane Leakage Rate Up To 9% From Gas Fields, Gutting Climate Benefit

Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have reconfirmed earlier findings of high rates of methane leakage from natural gas fields. If these findings are replicated elsewhere, they would utterly vitiate the climate benefit of natural gas, even when used to switch off coal.

… the research team reported new Colorado data that support the earlier work, as well as preliminary results from a field study in the Uinta Basin of Utah suggesting even higher rates of methane leakage — an eye-popping 9% of the total production. That figure is nearly double the cumulative loss rates estimated from industry data — which are already higher in Utah than in Colorado.

Leakage of 4%, let alone 9%, would call into question the value of unconventional gas as any sort of bridge fuel. Colm Sweeney, the head of the aircraft program at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, who led the study’s aerial component, told Nature:

“We were expecting to see high methane levels, but I don’t think anybody really comprehended the true magnitude of what we would see.”

Humanity appears to have two choices. Stop using fossil fuels almost entirely, almost immediately, or face thousands of years of temperatures well above what civilization can tolerate. In other words: we either lose civilization by dropping fossil fuels, or we lose civilization through climate change. Thank God we still have a choice...
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NOAA Confirms High Methane Leakage Rate Up To **9%** From Gas Fields (Original Post) GliderGuider Jan 2013 OP
Thanks OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 #1
That sucking sound you hear GliderGuider Jan 2013 #2
I forwarded the Nature article off to Governor Cuomo OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 #5
Good! The more ammunition they have against fracking, the better. nt GliderGuider Jan 2013 #8
I hope we have another Sandy ... (sort of) Vox Moi Jan 2013 #3
Looks like the gas-lovers who badmouthed the Cornell study NickB79 Jan 2013 #4
Well, to be generous… OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 #7
That was the first thing I thought of, too. joshcryer Jan 2013 #18
Here's why I think we face a choiceless choice GliderGuider Jan 2013 #6
It's not a “choiceless choice” OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 #9
We will not make the choice to undergo that degree of sacrifice. GliderGuider Jan 2013 #10
I don’t see where that necessarily follows… OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 #15
You have to start somewhere? GliderGuider Jan 2013 #16
EU makes up 15% of global electrical consumption. joshcryer Jan 2013 #25
You'll pry the new smartphone I buy every 18 months from my cold, dead hands NoOneMan Jan 2013 #11
It's OK, I can wait... nt GliderGuider Jan 2013 #12
Sounds like a personal problem to me OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 #13
Me neither NoOneMan Jan 2013 #14
Even as inhospitable as the results from IPCC RCP8.5 and the A1FI scenarios, CRH Jan 2013 #19
Yeah, I expect things to unravel a lot sooner than 2100 myself. GliderGuider Jan 2013 #20
Can't be said better than that. n/t CRH Jan 2013 #21
Funny you should mention Kevin Anderson, ... CRH Jan 2013 #28
Spot on - "a choiceless choice" due to the nature of our belief in exceptionalism Nihil Jan 2013 #23
This was being denied here just a few weeks back. joshcryer Jan 2013 #17
In that case the denial was probably the indirect defence of the wind industry ... Nihil Jan 2013 #22
That would be my assessment, too. joshcryer Jan 2013 #24
Oh, hey, the next line of defense will be that methane is a natural substance. djean111 Jan 2013 #26
seaQuest DSV. joshcryer Jan 2013 #27
Does anyone know if the leakage, ... CRH Jan 2013 #29
 

GliderGuider

(21,088 posts)
2. That sucking sound you hear
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:09 PM
Jan 2013

is GliderGuider draining the last drops of hope from the already half-empty glass of New Year's cheer...

I wish things were different.

Vox Moi

(546 posts)
3. I hope we have another Sandy ... (sort of)
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:15 PM
Jan 2013

The problem is that articles like this don't have the traction they should have and we'll face catastrophic events that dwarf Sandy unless we act quickly and in earnest.
If we need to be hit over the head (yet again) to bring Climate Change to the front-burner then better to have another disaster sooner than later.
The potential for a runaway positive feedback loop involving methane seeps and industrial leakage (both existent at this time) may well render any action we take in the future to be already too late.

NickB79

(19,385 posts)
4. Looks like the gas-lovers who badmouthed the Cornell study
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:32 PM
Jan 2013

By Professor Howarth, will have to suck it: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/fugitive-methane-stirs-debate-on-natural-gas/

The sad thing is, I've actually debated a few of those people here, who claimed the actual loss rate was as low as 0.1-1%, based on self-reported data from the gas industry itself. I mean, the gas industry wouldn't LIE or anything, right?

In his initial study, it found natural gas to be WORSE than coal at ONLY a 4-7% loss rate.

9% is fucking horrible.

OKIsItJustMe

(20,064 posts)
7. Well, to be generous…
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:24 PM
Jan 2013

The natural gas industry might be off in their calculations by an order of magnitude or so.

I mean, it's not as if they’re leaking money… (oh… I guess they are, aren’t they?)

I gotta tell you… seeing multiple wells being flared off at night on the horizon… it looks more like Mordor than Pennsylvania

joshcryer

(62,300 posts)
18. That was the first thing I thought of, too.
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:51 PM
Jan 2013

I mean fuck, get your shit together people. If a study is downplaying the effects scrutinize it highly, because it's likely fucking wrong.

Saw your post after I'd commented downthread. I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers that shit.

 

GliderGuider

(21,088 posts)
6. Here's why I think we face a choiceless choice
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:24 PM
Jan 2013


Without fossil fuels we can't maintain our existing population or the civilization that supports us. We need that much energy to support this level of organization and activity for this many people. Without fossil fuel we would have only 13% of the energy we currently enjoy - assuming we could even maintain industrial-scale hydro and nuclear power without oil or gas. Because of our intrinsic dependence on energy, our population would eventually, inevitably be reduced to the same extent - down to perhaps one billion people, similar to the world's population in the early 1800s. Because we are so invested in our 10,000 year old story of human exceptionalism, we will not make any choice that might result in such a decline.

If we do not make that choice however, we will continue following our current climate trajectory as described by the IPCC's RCP8.5 and A1FI scenarios. That curve passes through a temperature increase of +6C or better by the end of the century. Mark Lynas' description of a +6C world makes it abundantly clear that such a rise is utterly incompatible with a large, complex, global industrial civilization - or the number of people it currently supports.

So what do we do? Well, we probably just muddle along doing whatever we think might be useful, as we usually do. Maybe we pray a bit. And maybe we give thanks that we weren't born a few decades later, like our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

OKIsItJustMe

(20,064 posts)
9. It's not a “choiceless choice”
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:50 PM
Jan 2013

We do have a choice.

Of course, one possibility involves significant shared sacrifice to benefit future generations…
http://www.democraticunderground.com/112732123

 

GliderGuider

(21,088 posts)
10. We will not make the choice to undergo that degree of sacrifice.
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:05 PM
Jan 2013

The sacrifice entails cutting all fossil fuel use within a couple of decades, and reducing our energy supply to perhaps a tenth of what it now is. That reduction would entrain the premature deaths of billions before the end of the century. Who will make that choice? Who would elect a leader who promised it? What autocratic leader would bother with it?

I don't think either a middle road of gradualism or a "World War IV" level of effort to build renewable energy would help. Both would encounter significant political, economic and social roadblocks, and would take far too long. Not to mention that as long as we keep burning any significant amount of carbon the climate will end up where it's headed.

It's too late, and has been since at least 1945. We have made the Procrustean bed of civilization, and now we have to sleep in it.

OKIsItJustMe

(20,064 posts)
15. I don’t see where that necessarily follows…
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 05:32 PM
Jan 2013

i.e. I don’t see that it is necessary to cut “all fossil fuel use within a couple of decades,” and reduce “our energy supply to perhaps a tenth of what it now is…”

While some explain how it is impossible, various European countries are successfully converting much of their electrical generation to renewable sources today.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-1543_en.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/news/energy/120608_en.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_the_European_Union

[font face=Serif][font size=3]Share of renewable energies in gross electrical consumption in EU-27 countries in 2010 (in %).[/font][/font]

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-12-94_en.htm


There’s more to the energy picture than electrical use, but you have to start somewhere.
 

GliderGuider

(21,088 posts)
16. You have to start somewhere?
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:12 PM
Jan 2013

I prefer to say, "You have to stop somewhere." But we won't. We have triggered an entirely natural catastrophe, like an ibex triggering a landslide by scrambling across a mountaintop. The ibex can't push the rocks back uphill, and we're not that much more capable than your average ibex.

By all means build windmills. It's what tool monkeys do, after all - it's our Buddha nature. But please don't be too aggrieved if things that have been set in motion remain in motion despite it all.

 

NoOneMan

(4,795 posts)
14. Me neither
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 05:20 PM
Jan 2013

Just a joke, but hey, you know how people are. Its like those damn things are glued to people's hands.

CRH

(1,553 posts)
19. Even as inhospitable as the results from IPCC RCP8.5 and the A1FI scenarios,
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 09:10 PM
Jan 2013

those models are still employing data dependent on lineal interpretation. I continue to have problems giving any weight to lineal models representing a dynamic exponential heating system.

Within this last year I have come to believe the IPCC and most of what it synthesizes into consensus reports that will survive the government minders, is near worthless in comparison to the data and theory offered by David Wasdell and presented between 2005-2009 in his many lectures and website postings, at Apollo-Gaia, Meridian, etc.

If one looks into the natural world at cause and effect relationships, how many complex systems can really be quantified by lineal interpretation. The very fact the parts of complex systems are interactive and interdependent and often inter reactive, the possible permutations of effect soon become exponential. It is the nature of the beast. Now we are being told by government science minders, lineal models and resulting conclusions capture an accurate representation of a complex heat system governing the climate of our planet. That global heating is equal to global warming, when the latter is just an effect of the former. That somehow we can have lineal temperature determination, with a exponential multidimensional feedback, cause.

It is this lack of confidence in the official models and data, that leaves me certain anything we do, will be ineffective in addressing physical solutions. Our present science theory is incomplete and incompatible to finding a solution.

So what do we do? Flow into the chasm with non attachment. At this point we are but spectators not deciders, of our destiny. Our actions can only realistically affect, our consciousness, and the manner we accept our anthropogenic dilemma.

On edit: corrected the use of the word 'affect/effect'.

 

GliderGuider

(21,088 posts)
20. Yeah, I expect things to unravel a lot sooner than 2100 myself.
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 09:28 PM
Jan 2013

I think Wasdell and Kevin Anderson are probably on the money. I also think Guy McPherson is probably more right than wrong.

But at some point I've got to find joy in life, despite my knowledge and expectations. The key to that lock, for me, has been developing non-attachment. Clinging to either hope or despair is a mug's game. It closes the door on all the magical possibilities in life. The "beginner's mind" of perpetual wide-eyed wonder is a lot more fun, and in the end is more authentic than all that desperate grasping and rejection.

CRH

(1,553 posts)
28. Funny you should mention Kevin Anderson, ...
Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:51 PM
Jan 2013

I've spent the last couple of weeks reading the links at this site, and listening to many of his presentations and interviews. Probably nothing new here for you, but others reading this thread might enjoy the links to alternative perspective on climate change and the IPCC's presentation of the data.

Kevin Anderson lecture at the Cabot Institute, Nov.27, 2012. (58 minutes) This lecture really captures the unreliability of IPCC models, pathways, assessments, and reports.

http://transitionculture.org/2012/11/27/kevin-anderson-real-clothes-for-the-emperor-facing-the-challenges-of-climate-change/

Four Degrees and Beyond Special Issue Journal - can be accessed from the Tyndall Centre site

Has links to several papers discussing emission scenarios, water, economies rich and poor, human migration impacts and policies, ecosystem impacts, adaption possibilities, and more. There are many scientists preparing information for the four degree world by mid century or shortly thereafter.

http://tyndall.ac.uk/people/kevin-anderson





 

Nihil

(13,508 posts)
23. Spot on - "a choiceless choice" due to the nature of our belief in exceptionalism
Fri Jan 4, 2013, 06:18 AM
Jan 2013

> Because we are so invested in our 10,000 year old story of human exceptionalism,
> we will not make any choice that might result in such a decline.

> Without fossil fuels we can't maintain our existing population or the civilization that
> supports us. We need that much energy to support this level of organization and
> activity for this many people. Without fossil fuel we would have only 13% of the energy
> we currently enjoy - assuming we could even maintain industrial-scale hydro and
> nuclear power without oil or gas.

> So what do we do? Well, we probably just muddle along doing whatever we think
> might be useful, as we usually do.

Three excellent points there (albeit re-arranged from your original order).

"We" (i.e., the leaders of the nations in our global society) will deliberately choose
not to take appropriate action to reduce or offset the medium-term future crash
because of the risk of losing money and/or power in the very short term.

"We" will justify this pathetic inaction - ironically wasting even more resources
with each pointless exotic jolly for petty politicians - by thinly-disguised prayers
to the gods of "economy", "progress" and "future technology" whilst knowing full well
that every deferral, every obstacle, every call for "additional studies" not only brings
the crunch point closer (by maintaining BAU) but makes the pain more intense
and longer-lasting (by avoiding preparation).

 

Nihil

(13,508 posts)
22. In that case the denial was probably the indirect defence of the wind industry ...
Fri Jan 4, 2013, 06:05 AM
Jan 2013

... rather than the active defence of the fossil fuel industry (but yes, it achieves
the same end and is equally wrong regardless of the motivation).

joshcryer

(62,300 posts)
24. That would be my assessment, too.
Fri Jan 4, 2013, 07:34 AM
Jan 2013

It doesn't help that the wind industry is intrinsically tied to natural gas. At one point a selling point for the technology. This of course has been shown to have not been a good union.

 

djean111

(14,255 posts)
26. Oh, hey, the next line of defense will be that methane is a natural substance.
Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:11 AM
Jan 2013

Because it comes out of cow butts.
And we will be asked if we intend to get rid of cows.
I once was told by a conservative that we needn't worry about arsenic in drinking water, put there by companies sneering at regulations, because arsenic is a natural substance.

CRH

(1,553 posts)
29. Does anyone know if the leakage, ...
Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:26 PM
Jan 2013

is at the well head during extraction, or if the leakage is over the entire area subject to fracking? Does this leakage continue after the gas extraction has been completed? Do many dead gas fields continue leakage after production?

I'm not sure where to google this, the IEA will be industry friendly in reports, the gas conglomerates will repeat the 0.1 - 1% meme, and who else is qualified to make these measurements? Any ideas for sources?

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