Tag Archive: greenhouse gas

Natural Gas Fracking – GHG Emitter

I have taken heat here from people who don’t believe that Natural Gas is part of the problem with Cliimate Change.  Sadly we have a President who is misinformed and even on Chris Hayes’ show this morning, folks who claim to want to do something about Climate change only mention oil and coal when talking about emissions. This blatant ommission, which occurs all the time leads to the mistaken public assumption that natural gas is somehow not carbon based and somehow not a fossil fuel and that somehow, it is “clean”.  We need to get this right.  The gas industry is poised to descend on PA and NJ like never before and the American Society of Civil Engineers predicts natural gas production will be the second largest growth sector in the economy.  We need to be very careful and honest about what natural gas is and what it isn’t.

But scientists are VERY concerned about the contribution that natural gas gives to the Greenhouse gas load.  This Scientific American article explains why.  Don’t just take my word for it OR the gas industry, or someone who conveniently forgets to mention gas when talking about fossil fuels. There is a reason the gas industry does not want to report methane emissions from fracked wells and why seven states are suing to find out how much that is exactly.


Here is a little chemistry lesson.  Natural gas chemical formula is CH4. That C in front of the H stands for carbon, folks. It is a carbon based form of energy that when burned emits Carbon dioxide.  One natural gas methane molecule added to two O2 oxygen molecules – gives you two molecules of water and one of carbon dioxide.

CH4 + 2 O2 = 2 H2O + CO2.  

That is AFTER you burn it. If just left to drift off from a newly fracked well into the atmosphere as methane – methane is over 20 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere as C02. So be aware, Natural gas is a problem when you get it out of the ground by fracking as well as after you burn it. You get two hits on the Climate for the price of one. And you have misinformed elected officials (Including our President) running around touting Natural Gas as our Climate Savior.  Somebody, anybody, please disabuse him of this dangerous notion. ASAP.

In PA, former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell allowed a lot to happen in Pennsylvania.  Let’s not have Democratic legislators in NJ falling into that trap. We need to be vigilant, because Democrats can fall for the money of the Energy industry just as easily as Republicans do.  

Climate Change and Natural Gas Emissions Data


Here is an EPA interactive webpage showing the methane emissions and other emissions that come directly from the gas and oil industry.  

Some natural gas supporters can imply that methane only comes from thawing swamps in the arctic, but the EPA has the data.  Right here.

You can look it up by state, by county even. By type of greenhouse gas.  Numbers are given in metric tons.

Now the drawback to this data is simply this.  95% of emissions from fracking are NOT included in this data. Why? because these wells are not required to report. It is estimated that 95% of emissions are NOT reported to the EPA from fracking.

That is why seven states are now gearing up to sue the EPA to get that information known and reported. NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (my new hero) is leading the charge.  


New Jersey’s cap-and-trade program successful

I wonder if all the right-wingers ranting against Democrats and Frank LoBiondo for voting for a cap-and-trade bill know that New Jersey is already in a 10-state regional cap-and-trade agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

On March 12, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative announced the results of the latest auction (PDF):

The states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) today announced the results of the first quarterly auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances in 2010. The auction, held Wednesday, March 10th, yielded $87,956,944.56 for investment in the clean energy economy.

All of the 40,612,408 CO2 allowances for the first three-year control period (2009-2011) offered in Wednesday’s auction sold at a price of $2.07.

In a parallel offering, the RGGI states also auctioned CO2 allowances for the second three-year control period (2012-2014). A total of 2,091,000 of the 2,137,992 CO2 allowances for the second control period sold at a price of $1.86. Unsold allowances may be sold in future auctions according to each state’s regulations.

Proceeds from all auctions held to date now total more than $582.3 million. States are investing proceeds to improve energy efficiency and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies, creating thousands of jobs.

I don’t have New Jersey’s share of the proceeds (Delaware made $2 million), but according to law New Jersey’s share is invested as follows:

  *  60 percent of proceeds to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) for end-use energy efficiency, combined heat and power, and renewable energy project loans and grants in the commercial, institutional, and industrial sectors.

   * 20 percent of proceeds to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to support programs to reduce electricity costs or electricity demand for low- and moderate-income residential electricity customers.

   * 20 percent of proceeds to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to support local government programs to implement greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures (10%) and programs to enhance forest stewardship and tidal marsh restoration that provide important opportunities to sequester carbon (10%).

Will NJ get a waiver for Stricter Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

From Green Pages – NJ:

I read a very good blog post from the NRDC regarding the EPA’s reconsideration of California’s request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act so that California can implement stricter greenhouse gas emission regulations for automobiles.  The post is here. Once the waiver is granted, New Jersey’s regulations which adopt the California regulations will be effective.  These clean car regulations is part of New Jersey’s plan to address global warming gases under its Global Warming Response Act.

Administrator Jackson was the Commissioner of DEP at the time that DEP adopted the Ca. regulations and she was very involved in the passage of the Global Warming Response Act.  I believe that bodes well for her decision to grant the waiver.

I’m sure we’ll hear business complain about how now is the time to not impose stricter regulations, just as they did when the economy was strong.  You would think Lisa Jackson, with her prior involvement in the issue would favor such a move. I always enjoy the arguments of those who advocate state’s rights, but then try to block the decisions of the states that they don’t agree with.

Corzine on Carbon Caps, Global Warming

For a few fleeting minutes, I got to be the belle of Trenton and of Albany!  Transcontinentally!  For a good cause!!

Governor Corzine, N.Y. Gov. Spitzer and the Premier of British Columbia Gordon Campbell held a conference call from Portugal with the English-speaking press (I guess that’s us!) to discuss the formation of the International Carbon Action Partnership.  The event’s host was the Portugese Prime Minister Jose Socrates. 

This new alliance — a broad coalition of US states, Canadian provinces, European countries plus New Zealand — seeks to provide an “international forum in which governments adopting mandatory greenhouse emissions cap and trade systems will share experiences and best practices on the design of emission trading (strategies.)

Governor Corzine has walked the walk on the environment and states like ours have taken a real ledership roll as signatory to the regional greenhouse gas initiative (REGGI for short) along with NY and eight other (“Blue”) states in the northeast.

A Canadian journalist pressed the pols about a regional plan, as opposed to a global effort.  A Jersey writer echoed the sentiment, calling the whole initiative mere symbolism in light of the anemic repsonse from Washington. Plus if places like, say, China or Missouri aren’t bound by the tough standards, isn’t it kinda like pissing in the wind?

“We are not tilting at windmills,” Corzine chided.  “We’re setting the prototype for the nation!”

Corzine went on:

My background as the former head of Goldman Sachs has given me a unique perspective on many market-based solutions to important public problems, such as environmental degradation.  But it is my life in public service that has helped me understand that it will take the courage and commitment of a core set of leaders, like those of us gathered today (in Lisbon), to drive implementation of smart, feasible, and measurable policies needed to address an issue as urgent as global warming.”

That said, this is an openthread to share ideas and green living tips.  Other than not flying to Portugal, what can you do to reduce the amound of carbon that ends up in the atmosphere?  This thread could save the planet, so what are you waiting for?