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Unexpected surge in methane emissions has scientists worried

from Climate Nexus


Highlights

There is a noticeable global surge in methane emissions with the U.S. accounting for the largest source of growth.  If this trend continues, all progress made towards reaching Paris Agreement climate goals will be lost. 

  • Though tropical wetlands may play a role, scientists agree that large methane emissions are from the production and distribution of natural gas
  • Scientists agree the most practical option to mitigating these emissions is through ending gas leaks and venting
  • Fossil-fuel methane emissions account for roughly 34% of total anthropogenic emissions, which in turn account for as much as 60% of total methane emissions
  • In the United States, the natural gas and petroleum system is the largest source of methane emissions and recent analysis suggests that U.S. methane emissions from this industry have increased over the last 10 years at 3.4% per year– about 40% over the decade
  • The International Energy Agency estimates that the global oil and gas industry is capable of reducing its emissions by 75% and 40-50% of these emissions reductions can be made at zero net cost


The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign includes steps to get to 100% clean energy.  


Read More: https://climatenexus.org/climate-change-news/methane-surge/

Coronavirus shutdowns are lowering greenhouse gas emissions; history shows they’ll roar back

by Tony Barboza, The Los Angeles Times


Highlights:

As the world shelters-in-place due to the pandemic of COVID-19, greenhouse gas emissions have lowered. However, this reduction in emissions is temporary and emissions will rise again once the pandemic reaches an end:

  • Once self-isolation and quarantines end, more people will travel by car and airplane, ruining any decrease in emissions due to the outbreak
  • Scientists and environmentalists worry the pandemic will halt progress being made on emissions reductions as certain industries, such as airlines, try to revive themselves
  • In Europe, some airline companies have pushed regulators to delay emissions-cutting policies on account of the coronavirus. The Czech Republic’s prime minister urged the European Union to abandon a landmark law seeking net zero carbon emissions to focus instead on battling the outbreak.
  • Many are hopeful that the increase in telecommunications during the pandemic will stick around, lowering emissions from commuting to work in an office
  • The failure of the world to adequately respond to the pandemic parallels international efforts to respond to the climate crisis, which will ultimately have a longer, more dire effects on the world economy and population if global average temperatures rise 2 degrees C or more

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that we ignore the science at our own peril and early action saves lives. Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions. To avert dire consequences in-state and to inspire greater climate action worldwide, California must accelerate its climate leadership and policy timelines now.


Read More: https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-03-19/coronavirus-shutdowns-are-lowering-greenhouse-emissions-history-shows-theyll-come-roaring-back

Food waste is worse than we thought and the rich may be to blame

By Heesu Lee, Bloomberg


Highlights:

The world is throwing away double the amount of food than previously estimated, according to a new report by Wageningen University & Research.

  • The worlds richest are wasting more food at home compared to their less affluent counterparts
  • Analysis by Wageningen Economic Research suggests that people are wasting over 300 calories of food per day
  • Food waste accounts for 10% of the developed world’s GHG emissions

The Climate Center supports tracking all emissions, including consumption-based emissions.


Read More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-13/food-waste-is-worse-than-we-thought-and-the-rich-may-be-to-blame

Green Deal law to make EU’s energy shift irreversible

by Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, January 28, 2020


Highlights

The European Union is drafting a measure, titled the Green Deal, to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions entirely by 2050 in hopes to become the world’s first carbon neutral continent. 

  • The EU wants to make their new climate law irreversible 
  • The Green Deal is meant to keep Europe on track with the Paris Agreement climate goals
  • Reaching the existing climate targets will require additional spending of 260 billion euros ($286 billion) annually

The Climate Center works on achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and net negative emissions by 2035 through rapid decarbonization.


Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-28/green-deal-law-to-make-eu-s-tectonic-energy-shift-irreversible

A methane leak, seen from space, proves to be far larger than thought

by Hiroko Tabuchi, NY Times

The first satellite designed to continuously monitor the planet for methane leaks made a startling discovery last year: A little known gas-well accident at an Ohio fracking site was in fact one of the largest methane leaks ever recorded in the United States.

The findings by a Dutch-American team of scientists, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mark a step forward in using space technology to detect leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, from oil and gas sites worldwide.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/16/climate/methane-leak-satellite.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

‘Bleak’ U.N. Report on a Planet in Peril Looms Over New Climate Talks

  • Deeper and faster cuts are now required
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown by 1.5 percent every year over the last decade. To stay within relatively safe limits, emissions must decline sharply, by 7.6 percent every year, between 2020 and 2030.
  • Even if every country fulfills its current pledges under the Paris Agreement — and many, including the United States, Brazil and Australia, are currently not on track to do so — the Emissions Gap Report found average temperatures are on track to rise by 3.2 degrees Celsius from the baseline average temperature at the start of the industrial age.
  • The International Energy Agency recently singled out the proliferation of sport utility vehicles, noting that the surge of S.U.V.s, which consume more gasoline than conventional cars, could wipe out much of the oil savings from a nascent electric-car boom.

By Semini Sengupta Read full NYTimes article here

With world leaders gathering in Madrid next week for their annual bargaining session over how to avert a climate catastrophe, the latest assessment issued by the United Nations said Tuesday that greenhouse gas emissions are still rising dangerously.

“The summary findings are bleak,” said the annual assessment, which is produced by the United Nations Environment Program and is formally known as the Emissions Gap Report. Countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions despite repeated warnings from scientists, with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, further increasing their emissions last year.

The result, the authors added, is that “deeper and faster cuts are now required.”

As if to underscore the gap between reality and diplomacy, the international climate negotiations, scheduled to begin next week, are not even designed to ramp up pledges by world leaders to cut their countries’ emissions. That deadline is still a year away….

….Separately, the World Meteorological Organization reported on Monday that emissions of three major greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — have all swelled in the atmosphere since the mid-18th century.

“We are sleepwalking toward a climate catastrophe and need to wake up and take urgent action,” said Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, on a phone call with reporters Tuesday after the publication of the report….

….There are many ways to reduce emissions: quitting the combustion of fossil fuels, especially coal, the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel; switching to renewable energy like solar and wind power; moving away from gas- and diesel-guzzling cars; and halting deforestation….

….A number of countries around the world, including Canada and Norway, have made plans to reduce emissions at home while expanding fossil-fuel production for sale abroad, that report noted….

 

DHL to debut electric delivery vans in US cities

by Lisa Baertlein, Reuters

DHL will debut StreetScooter’s zero-emission Work L delivery van in two urban U.S. markets, one on each coast, starting in Spring 2020, the companies said. They did not specify which markets would be the first.

Full deployment could come in 2022 and 2023, said Ulrich Stuhec, StreetScooter’s chief technology officer, who joined the company from Ford Motor Co in October.

Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Tokyo and 30 other cities around the globe have been working to establish zero-emission zones by 2030. Those cities hope to curb accumulating greenhouse gases that contribute to extreme weather, higher temperatures and rising sea levels, which have steep economic, environmental and human costs.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-deutsche-post-dhl-streetscooter/dhl-to-debut-zero-emission-electric-delivery-vans-in-u-s-cities-idUSKBN1XZ2E7

California won’t buy cars from GM, Toyota, and others siding with Trump

by Rachel Becker, Cal Matters

Starting immediately, California state agencies will no longer buy gas-powered sedans, officials said Friday. And starting in January, the state will stop purchasing vehicles from carmakers that haven’t agreed to follow California’s clean car rules.

The decision affects General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and multiple other automakers that sided with the Trump administration in the ongoing battle over tailpipe pollution rules. The policy will hit General Motors particularly hard; California spent more than $27 million on passenger vehicles from GM-owned Chevrolet in 2018.

Read more: https://calmatters.org/environment/2019/11/california-says-it-wont-buy-cars-from-gm-toyota-others-opposing-tough-fuel-standards/?for-guid=e7359d9a-2fcd-e611-88f6-90b11c3bc1f2&utm_source=usatoday-Climate%20Point&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=narrative&utm_term=article_body

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies at hearings in 2014 to examine the General Motors (GM) recall and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) defect investigation process.

Big automakers take risks in siding with Trump administration against California

by Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, October 31, 2019

The decision this week by several major automakers — including General Motors, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler — to back the Trump administration in a high-stakes legal fight with California over fuel-efficiency standards has fractured an industry that has long prided itself for speaking with a single voice in Washington.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/big-automakers-take-risks-in-siding-with-trump-administration-against-california/2019/10/31/8acf3780-fbfc-11e9-8190-6be4deb56e01_story.html

‘Worse than anyone expected’: Air travel emissions vastly outpace predictions

by Hiroko Tabuchi, NY Times

Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial air travel are growing at a faster clip than predicted in previous, already dire, projections, according to new research — putting pressure on airline regulators to take stronger action as they prepare for a summit next week.

The United Nations aviation body forecasts that airplane emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, will reach just over 900 million metric tons in 2018, and then triple by 2050.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/climate/air-travel-emissions.html