Every State Should Monitor Methane to Meet Climate Goals

Wired | 10/2/2019 | Staff
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Scientists have made it clear: To prevent calamitous climate change fallout in our lifetimes, we have to take bold action. With the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposed rollback on the regulation of methane emissions, it’s also clear that states can’t rely on the federal government right now to act responsibly. It’s up to us. Fortunately, states have data-gathering tools at their disposal to shape effective policy, but they have to start using them now.

Michelle Lujan Grisham is the governor of New Mexico. Mark Johnson is CEO of Descartes Labs.

Discussion - Greenhouse - Gases - Carbon - Dioxide

While much of the discussion about greenhouse gases is focused on carbon dioxide, methane packs an even more powerful climate punch —trapping 28 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over 100 years.

Last week, Santa Fe-based Descartes Labs (where Mark is a cofounder) announced a bold initiative to utilize satellite mapping and modeling to monitor methane emissions, starting in the world’s highest-producing oilfield, the Permian Basin. The project supports New Mexico’s goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. As an energy-producing state, we recognize that meeting this goal requires collaboration with the industry and the most innovative technologies available. We hope that other state and local governments will take similar actions.

State - Methane - Atmosphere - Progress - Example

But for any state to reduce methane in the atmosphere, we need to know exactly where it’s coming from to make tangible progress. For example, a methane survey in California led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 2015 through 2017 found that 80 percent of methane emissions came from 25 percent of its sources. In some cases, more than 50 percent of the emissions came from only 1 percent of sources, highlighting the devastating impact of “super emitters” such as poorly...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Wired
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