November News Round-Up

Today the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) kicks off in Paris, and what better way to inaugurate this serious issue than to round up some of the sillier effects of methane emissions? A Malaysia-bound Singapore Airlines flight packed with over 2,000 sheep learned its lesson when it had to be diverted to Bali because the methane from the sheep defecation set off the plane’s fire alarms. Meanwhile in Australia, scientists debunked the myth that kangaroos don’t fart.

But let’s also celebrate some of the creative ways that organizations around the world are mitigating methane! A family farm in France has significantly cut its cattle herd’s enteric fermentation methane emissions by feeding the cows more grass and less maize and soy. A Toyota manufacturing plant in Kentucky, USA, has begun to generate its electricity from a nearby landfill. A French zoo is using the 100 kilograms of dung produced per day by its grey African elephant to create biogas to keep its gorillas and manatees warm and supply renewable power to the national grid. Likewise, developers are currently installing a large biogas project in Missouri, USA, that will convert hog manure into 2.2 billion cubic feet of pipeline-quality natural gas in its first phase. A Boston-based company is extracting clean water and methane from waste streams at two California breweries with a secret set of microbes. A United Nations task force has valued the world’s human feces at $9.5 billion if it could be turned into an energy resource. Finally, a climate-friendly strain of rice that gives off negligible methane wins a Popular Science award. Three cheers for cleantech and innovation!

Bubbles of methane trapped in thermokarst lakes, which form as permafrost thaws. Photo credit: Miriam Jones, United States Geological Survey, Alaska, USA.

Now for the obligatory sobering news: remember those perplexing giant craters found in Siberia last year, thought to be the result of built-up methane from melting permafrost?  Well, scientists have discovered a similar phenomenon happening on the currently frozen seabed of the Arctic Ocean. Meanwhile, the west coast of the United States is experiencing some methane problems: an old gas storage site in Los Angeles has been leaking for over a month, and plumes of methane are bubbling up from the seafloor off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

Stay tuned to our Twitter feed for the latest methane news coming from COP21!


November Methane News Round-Up

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