High Global Methane: Is The U.S. The Culprit?


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 Universally, a spike around the entirety of the Earth raised in Methane emissions; the most potent array of the greenhouse effect through the calculated effect on the climate over the course of ten years. A recent Harvard study points the cause at the United States.

It could be very possible that, for 30 to 60 percent of the earth’s produced growth in “human-caused” methane emissions amidst the atmosphere, since 2002, the U.S. is responsible.

In this research, it clearly shows the increase of emissions dwelling within the center of the country. However, studies also indicate still too little data to specify the finite sources. But, as the nationwide boom of oil wells continue to produce and emit the shale oil and gas association of large amounts of methane leaking from the pipes and wells, such numbers are clear to calculate in an indication of augmentation, therewith.

“I’d say,” Alex Turner: Harvard University, Ph. D chemical engineering candidate. “The biggest takeaway is that there is more we, the U.S., could be doing to reduce our methane emissions to combat climate change,”

Nearly four months after it broke, Aliso Canyon and its gas leak in California was finally plugged. This only brought that much more attention to Methane. Being 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide, or CO2, Methane has truly been the culprit of climate change thus ranged from the calculated dates of 20 years. Methane also stands as 35 times more potent throughout the atmosphere from whence a calculation was given in the past entirety of no less than 100 years. In four months, the gas leak in Aliso Canyon emanated more methane than what would have been produced by 440,000 cars in one whole year.

The EPA has continually been observing and straining its efforts on the management and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of Methane. Turner also said that “the causes for this renewed growth are currently unknown,” in the reference to the rise and the fall of methane since the 1980’s; but more specifically to its noticeable rise from just 2007, alone.

In the EPA, a spokeswoman by the name of Enesta Jones said the study from Harvard gives to a wide area of novel research in how we may best regulate methane gas emissions. The U.S., responsible in its use and contribution of as high as 60 percent of global emissions and its increase, shows the critical nature of the country and its need to verily diminish all the natural gas it thus uses; and to diminish such use in great rapidity.

Robert Howarth, Cornell, University: ecologist and methane scientist in research; unaffiliated with Harvard: “There is simply no way to [keep global warming to below 2C in the Paris climate agreement goal] by reducing carbon dioxide emission alone because of lags in the climate system. Even with major carbon dioxide emission reductions starting [right] now, the planet would reach 1.5C in 12 years and 2C in 35 years. But, the planet responds much more rapidly to methane, so a reduction in methane emissions now would slow the rate of global warming immediately. I believe the U.S. probably is responsible for this much of an increase in global methane emission. And, the increase almost certainly must be coming from the fracking and from the increase in use of natural gas.”

Raymond Pierrenhumbert: atmospheric physicist: University of Oxford, also unaffiliated with Harvard find the studies therein of its scientists as useful. But, he also believes it really does not help for long-term goals and issues, heretofore.

“It is always useful,” he says, “to know what the emission of various greenhouse gasses are, but methane is still just a sideshow, and relative to what the U.S. needs to do to fulfill its Paris commitments with regard to keeping the warming under 2C, even a substantial upward revision of methane leakage is almost completely irrelevant. The warming due to steady methane emissions essentially stops increasing after just two decades, and is largely reversible once the leakage stops.”

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