Category Archives: Climate

Natural Gas (Methane) Leak In Southern California

Here is an Environmental Defense Fund blog by Tim O-Conner, to help us understand the natural gas leak in Southern California.   He reports the following:

” Natural gas is mostly methane; a powerful pollutant that contributes to smog formation and global climate change, packing 84 times the warming power of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years it is in the atmosphere.   Aliso Canyon is the largest natural gas storage site in the Western U.S., operating under intense injection pressures and holding huge amounts of methane.”

This is a natural disaster, and the company had removed a safety valve which could have sealed off the leak.

Aliso Canyon _2

This picture is from another EDF blog, and it visualizes the leak.  This piece also says,

“Every day, the Aliso Canyon well is responsible for over a quarter of the state’s daily methane emissions from all sources, and these images show us just what those numbers look like. The mega-leak seen here has not only caused serious health problems for nearby residents, it’s also making a huge climate impact.

The Aliso Canyon incident is an example of the type of risks we face as natural gas infrastructure ages, and is a sobering reminder of how important it is to have rules that ensure gas stays in the pipeline — not in our air.

This post originally appeared on EDF’s Energy Exchange blog

on January 13, 2016  Mashable ‘s Andrew Freedman said that the gas leak is emitting as much pollution every day as 4.5 million cars.   He also said that the newest regulations will not cover such existing facilities.

We cannot afford this!

David Babson wrote a Union of Concerned Scientists blog in which he said that we need more accountability, and more responsibility on the part of the industry.



Methane Plus Oxygen Yields Carbon Dioxide and Water

Visualized here is  a chemical reaction, the burning of a molecule of methane.   These  are made with an organic chemistry model kit,  wherein the elements carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen are represented by the black spheres,  red spheres,  and white spheres, respectively.

DSC00729 One methane molecule,  CH4, which is an atom of carbon bonded with four atoms on hydrogen, reacts with two molecules of oxygen (O2),  each of which consists of two atoms of oxygen bonded together,DSC00728

rearranges the atoms to yield one molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2), and two molecules of water (H2O).

People (scientists of different types, e.g. chemists, physicists, climatologists) study interactions of these molecules in the atmosphere.   Methane, carbon dioxide, and water are all greenhouse gases in order of decreasing strength per molecule.


Our Choice, By Al Gore

We are on the cusp of addressing climate change, and it is about time with the droughts, wildfires, heat waves, enormous snow and rain storms (including hurricanes) and record floods.  So recently I reviewed a book from my shelf by Al Gore.

DSC08455  If we open out the flap on the front  cover, we see the earth as it was in 2009,    with green earth and a lot of polar ice.

DSC08467 This is the title page.

DSC08468 Here is the table of contents.  This book has main sections on:

  • The Crisis
  • Our Sources of Energy
  • Living Systems
  • How We Use Energy
  • The Obstacles We Need to Overcome
  • Going Far Quickly

It is an attractive book with many illustrative color pictures.


DSC08463  This graph shows that California moderated its per capita energy consumption starting as early as 1976.  California got an early start on the rest of us in addressing climate change, and California demonstrates that public policy is effective in reducing energy consumption, and thus in helping to address climate change.

DSC08456 If we open up the flap and turn the page, we see a desertified North America, no polar ice over the water, and diminished polar ice over the land, and more tropical storms.  We cannot see the temperature change.  This book is a treasure trove of information and help at our fingertips.