A Bit More About Methane

Post 55 in a series. When Green Turns Brown is an examination of a small town’s digester-energy project, in which Whitewater, Wisconsin would import other cities’ waste, claiming that the result would be both profitable and green.

I’ve posted before about methane, but only as a foretaste of more on the subject (Methane on 11.23.15 and What’s a Greenhouse Gas? last week on 1.4.16).

Here’s another appetizer along those same lines. My point is not that Whitewater, Wisconsin would see huge methane leaks, but that touting methane gas as clean and green is an effort grounded in either ignorance or chicanery.

Consider the scene from the Pacific west, now afflicting the unfortunate residents of Porter Ranch, California, with an honest assessment of methane:

The single biggest contributor to climate change in California is a blown-out natural gas well more than 8,700ft underground, state authorities and campaign groups said Monday.

The broken well at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site has released more than 77,000 metric tons of the powerful climate pollutant methane since the rupture was first detected on 23 October, according to a counter created by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Methane is a fast-acting climate pollutant – more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame.

Experts believe the breach, which has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents from the town of Porter Ranch, is the largest ever in the US.

Locals have complained of headaches, sore throats, nosebleeds and nausea, caused by the rotten-egg smell of the odorant added to the gas to aid leak detection by SoCalGas, the utility that operates the natural gas storage site.

About 1,000 people are suing the company. There are also concerns about the leak’s effect on smog and ozone. The company said it was monitoring air quality….

SeeA single gas well leak is California’s biggest contributor to climate change @ The Guardian.

Methane may be found or recovered: it’s deleterious either way.