On April 22nd (Earth Day), world leaders from 175 countries signed the historic Paris climate accord, drawing attention to some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues – including methane.
The issue of food waste received a lot of attention during the month. According to Reuters, between 30 and 40 percent of food produced around the world is never eaten, because it spoils after harvest and during transportation or is thrown away by shops or consumers. Reuters’ report focused on a new study that concluded up to 14 percent of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better. The Washington Post also described different countries’ efforts to target this problem, from a bill in the UK that proposes targets for manufacturers and distributors to reduce certain food waste to an effort in California to change the wording on the expiration dates on packaged food to prevent consumers from throwing away products that are still safe to eat. Meanwhile, two articles detail anaerobic digestion projects in Colorado, USA and northwestern England that capture methane emissions from food waste.
Another big story was the upward revision of methane emissions from the oil & gas sector in the United States, surpassing ruminant livestock as the largest source of methane emissions. As the Aliso Canyon methane leak demonstrated, one of the greatest hurdles to reducing methane emissions is plugging leaks in the storage tanks, pipes, and other equipment that drillers use to extract and transport oil and gas. A Washington Post story delves in depth on whether the rise of U.S. methane emissions can be attributed to the oil & gas sector, featuring the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Drew Shindell. In northern Texas, so-called ‘methane sleuths’ have taken the initiative to monitor emissions from oil and gas drilling in the area.
April Methane News Round-Up
- ‘Any spark could set it off’: An in-depth look at the dangers of coal mining (Global News Canada)
- Experts dig for alternate solutions for solid waste management in Mumbai (The Indian Express)
- How Colorado Is Turning Food Waste Into Electricity (NPR News)
- Lake District power plant will generate energy from cheese (ArsTechnica UK)
- Methane Sleuths Monitor Seeping Gases From Oil and Gas Drilling (Dallas Observer)
- MPs Call For Farmers To Tackle Belching Cows To Cut Emissions (Huffington Post)
- New tool calculates economic costs of methane leak detection (Phys.org)
- Southern California braces for summer blackouts due to Porter Ranch gas leak (LA Times)
- The enormous carbon footprint of food that we never even eat (Washington Post)
- The Invisible Catastrophe (New York Times)
- The most important mystery about U.S. climate change policy (Washington Post)
- The U.S. has been emitting a lot more methane than we thought, says EPA (Washington Post)
- This Could Be One of the Greatest Hurdles for Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the US (Vice)
- To help curb climate change, stop wasting food: scientists (Reuters)
- Using Methane Rather Than Flaring It (R&D Mag)