By Hank Campbell | June 10th 2019 Science 2.0
Industrial processes in the United States produce 8 gigagrams of methane emissions per year, according to experts. But Environmental Defense Fund, using a sensor on a Google street view car, is claiming otherwise in a recent article they paid to publish in a small Berkeley-based journal (Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene) that promotes stories about how humans are killing the planet.
Even if methane is more than EPA scientists have detected using all of the technology available to the government (as opposed to a sensor on a Google street view car), it is not a critical problem. CO2 is the culprit we’ve all been mobilized to tackle, it lasts for a thousand years, and those emissions have gone down. CO2 has been tackled so well that President Trump was criticized by activists for abandoning the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan while knowing it was a political move that his base liked and didn’t hurt the environment at all. By 2017, the private sector had already reduced energy emissions to what the CPP would’ve mandated in 2025. It would have been like banning trans fats once no non-exempted product used them anyway (which happened – no one but donuts, pie crusts, and fast food still used them, and they were all exempted.)
Maybe that is the problem for Environmental Defense Fund and others who have used CO2 evangelizing as a cash cow and need something to replace it. Turning on natural gas makes perfect sense in that light, as long as we ignore that until it became viable, and therefore popular, environmentalists had promoted methane over coal and nuclear.
To make natural gas sound scary, they have to reframe physics to make methane seem more devastating than it is. They do so by conflating absolute and relative values. Though methane is a literal drop in the bucket of concern about accelerating climate change environmentalists can make it sound more meaningful by claiming it is 8 times greater than scientists show – they just have to ignore their result is from a common, uncalibrated sensor on a Google car. Eight times very little impact is still very little, the same way you won’t feel better about your one in a billion chance of winning the lottery if you buy 8 tickets.
They also flat out deny science. Methane does have a greater “warming effect” than CO2 but it is still negligible because it disappears so quickly yet Environmental Defense Fund environmentalist Joe Rudek, Ph.D. (who claims expertise in atmospheric science because he is an adjunct in the earth science department at North Carolina State University) states “In a 20-year timeframe, methane’s global warming potential is 84 times that of carbon dioxide.”
It is absolutely dishonest to trot out a figure of 20 years when that is twice as long as methane actually lasts.
PHOTO CREDIT: By C.Suthorn / cc-by-sa-4.0 / commons.wikimedia.org, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73827462