Largely Unregulated Gas Pipelines Huge Source of Methane Pollution
The largest source of leaks of the potent greenhouse gas methane may be the spider web of largely unregulated pipes transporting it from drilling sites to processing facilities, according to new research from the Environmental Defense Fund. This 425,000-mile network network of pipes is overseen by the little known Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, but according to the report less than 3% of the so-called gathering lines are actually regulated by the federal agency.
Research suggests gas gathering, transmission, and distribution account for a significant portion of methane leakage from the oil and gas industry, and gas distribution pipelines alone may leak about five times more methane than EPA assumes. Most of the nation’s gas delivery system falls under the regulatory purview of PHMSA, and leaking and venting gas into the atmosphere is a regular course of business for pipelines. In November, PHMSA rolled out new regulations to reduce leaks from gathering lines in rural areas, the location of which are often unknown even to the companies that own them, for the first time.
Source: (E&E $)
2021 Global Temps 6th-Hottest Since Industrial Revolution, Says Everyone
Last year was the sixth-hottest on record and all of the seven hottest years have occurred in the last seven years, NOAA, NASA, and Berkeley Earth scientists announced yesterday. Different scientific entities calculate global temperature averages in slightly different ways, and recent analyses from six major scientific institutions have all put 2021 between the fifth- and seventh-hottest year since the industrial revolution.
The 2021 temperatures – while not record-breaking in and of themselves – are alarming because the expected cooling La Niña cycle last year failed to lower global temperatures any further. “It’s not quite as headline-dominating as being the warmest on record, but give it another few years and we’ll see another one of those” records, Zeke Hausfather of the Berkeley Earth monitoring group told the AP. “It’s the long-term trend, and it’s an indomitable march upward.” That upward march is caused by the human extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.
“We are reaping what we’ve sown,” NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt told the Washington Post.
Not to be outdone, 2022 is already adding to the record books with 123.3°F heat in Onslow, Western Australia on January 2 – a high that ties the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sources: (AP, Washington Post $, Gizmodo, Axios, Reuters, The Guardian, Grist, Yale Climate Connections, Wall Street Journal $, The Verge, E&E $, Bloomberg $; Australia: Washington Post $, The Guardian, Gizmodo; Climate Signals background: Global warming, Extreme heat and heatwaves)
Multiple Permian Basin Fraud Lawsuits Underway
A second Permian Basin company is facing an SEC lawsuit for defrauding its investors, Earther reports. Just a week after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Heartland Group Ventures LLC, a Permian fracking company, for defrauding its investors and running a Ponzi scheme, it filed a suit against Marco “Sully” Perez and his “company” for defrauding more than 265 investors out of more than $9 million. Perez allegedly used the Ponzi scheme to fund his “extravagant lifestyle,” spending cash on “luxury cars, a helicopter, private jet travel, Bahamian real estate, and jewelry” along with his wedding on the Queen Mary.
Federal regulators say the company crossed the line when it allegedly generated less than $500,000 in revenue after raising $122 million from more than 700 investors.
Sources: (Earther); Rampant pollution, especially methane, is a major problem in the Permian Basin. (Bloomberg $)
2017 Floods Led To Crisis For Women And Girls In NE India
Devastating floods submerged nearly 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 sq. miles) of the northeast Indian state of Bihar in August 2017, killing 815 people and displacing nearly 900,000. They also set off a crisis of insecurity, violence, and trafficking for women and girls in the region. Extreme precipitation events and flooding are made worse and more frequent by climate change caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. The links between extreme weather events — and the extraction of fossil fuels — and increased violence against women and girls are well established.
Sources: (Third Pole; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation increase, Flooding)
Featured photo by EJ Strat on Unsplash
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