December News Round-Up and Hello 2016!

The final month of 2015 marked both an extreme peak and extreme trough in terms of methane news. Let’s start with the peak:


The COP21 negotiations in Paris concluded just one day late on December 12 to produce a comprehensive global deal. You can find the key points from the deal here. Government representatives and GMI partner the Climate and Clean Air Coalition discussed commitments on methane reductions in the early days of COP21. Additionally, the New York Times created a sensible list on how individuals can approach tackling climate change.

The Paris climate deal is certainly an excellent way to end the year on a high, but unfortunately, it’s accompanied by a low in the United States: the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site near Porter Ranch, California, ruptured in October due to aging infrastructure and has been spewing methane into the atmosphere ever since. Called “the largest environmental disaster in the U.S. since the BP oil spill,’’ 1,700 homes have been evacuated so far, and California’s methane emissions have risen by 25% due to the leak. Unfortunately, the leak is technically difficult to fix, so it is likely to continue for several weeks. You can check out an infrared video of the leak here.

A couple other pieces of not-so-great news in December: first, scientists believe that methane emissions from melting Arctic permafrost could be underestimated. Second, a new study finds that methane emissions due to oil and gas production in the Barnett Shale formation in the United States may be nearly twice current estimates. So, it is even more urgent to begin implementation of the Paris climate deal.

Finally, to conclude 2015 on a lighter note: scientists created a “belch backpack” for cows and captured a time lapse series to showcase methane emitted from enteric fermentation.


Happy New Year to our friends around the world!


December Methane News Round-Up


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