The oil and gas industries could help fix this!


Photo with Article — A flare burns at a well pad Aug. 26, 2021, near Watford City, N.D. American oil and natural gas wells, pipelines and compressors are spewing three times the amount of the potent heat-trapping gas methane as the government thinks, a new comprehensive study calculates.

American oil and natural gas wells, pipelines and compressors are spewing three times the amount of the potent heat-trapping gas methane as the government thinks, causing $9.3 billion in yearly climate damage, a new comprehensive study calculates.

But because more than half of these methane emissions are coming from a tiny number of oil and gas sites, 1% or less, this means the problem is both worse than the government thought but also fairly fixable, said the lead author of a study in Wednesday’s journal Nature.

The same issue is happening globally. Large methane emissions events around the world detected by satellites grew 50% in 2023 compared to 2022 with more than 5 million metric tons spotted in major fossil fuel leaks, the International Energy Agency reported Wednesday in their Global Methane Tracker 2024. World methane emissions rose slightly in 2023 to 120 million metric tons, the report said.

“This is really an opportunity to cut emissions quite rapidly with targeted efforts at these highest emitting sites,” said lead author Evan Sherwin, an energy and policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab who wrote the study while at Stanford University. “If we can get this roughly 1% of sites under control, then we’re halfway there because that’s about half of the emissions in most cases.”

Sherwin said the fugitive emissions come throughout the oil and gas production and delivery system, starting with gas flaring. That’s when firms release natural gas to the air or burn it instead of capturing the gas that comes out of energy extraction. There’s also substantial leaks throughout the rest of the system, including tanks, compressors and pipelines, he said.

“It’s actually straightforward to fix,” Sherwin said.

In general about 3% of the U.S. gas produced goes wasted into the air, compared to the Environmental Protection Agency figures of 1%, the study found. Sherwin said that’s a substantial amount, about 6.2 million tons per hour in leaks measured over the daytime. It could be lower at night, but they don’t have those measurements.

The study gets that figure using one million anonymized measurements from airplanes that flew over 52% of American oil wells and 29% of gas production and delivery system sites over a decade. Sherwin said the 3% leak figure is the average for the six regions they looked at and they did not calculate a national average.

Methane over a two-decade period traps about 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide, but only lasts in the atmosphere for about a decade instead of hundreds of years like carbon dioxide, according to the EPA.

About 30% of the world’s warming since pre-industrial times comes from methane emissions, said IEA energy supply unit head Christophe McGlade. The United States is the No. 1 oil and gas production methane emitter, with China polluting even more methane from coal, he said.

Last December, the Biden administration issued a new rule forcing the U.S. oil and natural gas industry to cut its methane emissions. At the same time at the United Nations climate negotiations in Dubai, 50 oil companies around the world pledged to reach near zero methane emissions and end routine flaring in operations by 2030. That Dubai agreement would trim about one-tenth of a degree Celsius, nearly two-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit, from future warming, a prominent climate scientist told The Associated Press.

Monitoring methane from above, instead of at the sites or relying on company estimates, is a growing trend. Earlier this month the market-based Environmental Defense Fund and others launched MethaneSAT into orbit. For energy companies, the lost methane is valuable with Sherwin’s study estimate it is worth about $1 billion a year.

About 40% of the global methane emissions from oil, gas and coal could have been avoided at no extra cost, which is “a massive missed opportunity,” IEA’s McGlade said. The IEA report said if countries do what they promised in Dubai they could cut half of the global methane pollution by 2030, but actions put in place so far only would trim 20% instead, “a very large gap between emissions and actions,” McGlade said.

“It is critical to reduce methane emissions if the world is to meet climate targets,” said Cornell University methane researcher Robert Horwath, who wasn’t part of Sherwin’s study.

“Their analysis makes sense and is the most comprehensive study by far out there on the topic,” said Howarth, who is updating figures in a forthcoming study to incorporate the new data.

The overflight data shows the biggest leaks are in the Permian basin of Texas and New Mexico.

“It’s a region of rapid growth, primarily driven by oil production,” Sherwin said. “So when the drilling happens, both oil and gas comes out, but the main thing that the companies want to sell in most cases was the oil. And there wasn’t enough pipeline capacity to take the gas away” so it spewed into the air instead.

Contrast that with tiny leak rates found in drilling in the Denver region and the Pennsylvania area. Denver leaks are so low because of local strictly enforced regulations and Pennsylvania is more gas-oriented, Sherwin said.

This shows a real problem with what National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association methane-monitoring scientist Gabrielle Petron calls “super-emitters.”

“Reliably detecting and fixing super-emitters is a low hanging fruit to reduce real life greenhouse gas emissions,” Petron, who wasn’t part of Sherwin’s study, said. “This is very important because these super-emitter emissions are ignored by most ‘official’ accounting.”

Stanford University climate scientist Rob Jackson, who also wasn’t part of the study, said, “a few facilities are poisoning the air for everyone.”

“For more than a decade, we’ve been showing that the industry emits far more methane than they or government agencies admit,” Jackson said. “This study is capstone evidence. And yet nothing changes.”

Read more of AP’s climate coverage at


by Duane Nichols on March 13, 2024

An actual warm spring could mean bad news for NY fruit crops

Apples orchards have becoming popular in upstate New York

From an Article from WRVO by Abigail Connolly ~
This apple shows signs of a 2023 late spring frost with its discoloration.

Some warmer spring temperatures have already hit much of New York – and that could be bad for fruit crops.

With some 70 degree days already hitting much of the upstate region, an early spring may not be a good thing, according to Jason Londo, an associate professor of fruit crop physiology at Cornell University. He said with warmer weather, fruit crops may start dropping their defenses.

“We typically get plenty of cold weather in the month of March and even into April,” Londo said. “So the more heat we have now, the less defended our crops are to those types of freeze events that could happen,”

As temperatures increase, many fruit crops lose their resiliency to the cold, making them more susceptible to frost or cold damage. A late freeze last May caused damage to some apple and grape crops across the state. This year, Londo is remaining optimistic.

“I’m nervous, but it just depends, if it calms down and it just kind of goes through the rest of spring very cool, we’re fine,” Londo said. “It’s really if we have more spikes of heat and any oscillations.”

But if a late freeze does come, there is little New York growers can do. New York lacks the infrastructure some southern climate growers have and technology hasn’t moved fast enough to develop a viable solution. Despite a limited number of options to help protect crops, Londo said New York growers are strong.

“We have a resilient industry,” Londo said. “We have to keep that investment going, we have to keep positive, optimistic thoughts about how to mitigate this and work together.”

Londo said this is something the industry may have to get used to. “This sort of weather is going to continue to be unpredictable and it can be scary but I also have a lot of faith in the agriculture industry of this state,” Londo said.

Londo said fruit crops will be stronger if cooler temperatures remain through April.

Abigail Connolly ~ Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.


Letter on Surface Land Rights to CHARLESTON GAZETTE 24 FEBRUARY 2024

February 24, 2024

From David McMahon: WV looking to rip off surface rights owners (Opinion), February 24, 2024 The West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization, of which I am a cofounder, stands up for surface owners when the oil and gas drillers show up with bulldozers. The common law says that if I own the surface, but someone [...]

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February 18, 2024

Landowner Rights Beging Ignored in OHIO. STATE PARKS AT RISK! From Randi Pokladnik, Tappan Lake, OHIO, 44683, February 14, 2024 Have you ever noticed that every oil and gas drilling rig has an American flag anchored to the top? For most Americans, that flag represents a symbol of freedom. So, it’s ironic that Ohio’s pro [...]

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Wildlife Populations are an Important Part of Life on EARTH

February 13, 2024

Remote cameras capture insights into NY’s wildlife populations | Cornell Chronicle By Blaine Friedlander, Cornell Chronicle, February 13, 2024 Bobcats, like this one photographed in Otego, New York on Jan. 30, 2024, remain critically low in population, according to Cornell biologists. With thousands of strategically placed cameras covering more than 27,000 square miles in central [...]

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JOIN CLIMATE Guardians in a Political Action Committee (PAC)

February 11, 2024

NOW Join the Grace and Frankie Galentine’s Day Virtual Cast Reunion! Join us on February 13 at 6PM PT for our Grace and Frankie Virtual Cast Reunion (Galentine’s Edition!) featuring a live table read from some of your favorite Grace and Frankie cast members: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, and more! Get [...]

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February 2, 2024

10 dramatic discoveries about Earth from 2023 Hottest summer on record. Devastating Maui wildfire. Return of El Niño. Possible shutdown of key ocean current system. Record-low sea ice extent in Antarctica. Smoke from Canadian wildfires. Changes to the tilt of Earth’s axis. A brand-new island. Source ~

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TIME FOR ACTION ~ Joe Biden needs to stand up to Big Oil and Gas!

January 25, 2024

Breaking News: Is Biden standing up to Big Oil and gas? From the Appeal of Catharine Collentine, The Sierra Club, January 24, 2024 Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Biden administration is poised to announce a pause on what would be the largest gas export terminal in the nation, CP2, to evaluate its [...]

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OMG! With 90 Seconds to Midnight, We Have Multiple Crises on Hand

January 23, 2024

The DOOMSDAY CLOCK is maintained by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists From an Article by Jessica Corbett for Common Dreams on January 23, 2024 “Ominous trends continue to point the world toward global catastrophe,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned Tuesday, explaining why the Doomsday Clock remains at 90 seconds to midnight. Since its [...]

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TRANSCRIPT ~ Fossil Fuel Deception ~ Part 1 …

January 20, 2024

Transcript from Living on Earth of January 12, 2024. DOERING: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Jenni Doering BELTRAN: And I’m Paloma Beltran. The burning of fossil fuels is the primary source of climate-warming greenhouse gases worldwide. And the science tells us that if we don’t drastically reduce those emissions as soon as possible, we’re headed [...]

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