Urgency: the methane burp

In this section of the Climate Solutions Institute, we invite you to join us in thinking seriously about specific climate mobilization drivers... specifically the melting of polar ice, tundra, and deep ocean beds that have the potential to release naturally stored METHANE

Showing 8 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2016-03-13 23:48:06 -0400
    Read http://kevinanderson.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/For-my-website-On-the-duality-of-climate-scientists-submission-to-Nature-2015.pdf Teaching climate law offers 3 cogent questions:

    “#1 What would be the policy implications of seeking to meet the more ambitious objective under Paris of limiting temperature increases to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels?;
    1. Anderson portrays negative emissions options as “speculative” or a deus ex machina; do you agree? Assuming that negative technologies can help to remove carbon from the atmosphere, are there any downsides to this approach?;
    1. What are some of the measures that could be taken to effectuate the radical transformation of the world’s economy that could meet the objective of limiting temperatures to 2C?"


    http://teachingclimatelaw.org/tough-love-on-the-path-to-2c/
  • commented 2016-03-13 16:14:54 -0400
    …do you have any data on how to detect accumulating sub-surface methane? If so:

    Darrell – The idea is interesting, but it only works well if we can identify defined spots where methane has accumulated beneath the surface. If that were possible, we could harvest the methane for use… I am not suggesting that harvesting methane should be a goal, but if you have it in front of you, why let it load to the atmosphere? Anyway, do you have any data on how to detect accumulating sub-surface methane?
  • commented 2016-03-13 16:14:53 -0400
    …do you have any data on how to detect accumulating sub-surface methane? If so:

    Darrell – The idea is interesting, but it only works well if we can identify defined spots where methane has accumulated beneath the surface. If that were possible, we could harvest the methane for use… I am not suggesting that harvesting methane should be a goal, but if you have it in front of you, why let it load to the atmosphere? Anyway, do you have any data on how to detect accumulating sub-surface methane?
  • commented 2016-03-13 15:08:16 -0400
    I’d suggest covering over the spots with a massive cover that holds gasses in and creates in uniform albedo of >.90
  • commented 2016-03-10 18:03:46 -0500
    50 percent clean energy by 2030 is slow, but it is still an improvement over the 2050 goal that was envisioned in the last decade. Moreover, it seems a healthy start that a cluster of Congressional lawmakers embrace any goal that gets ahead of mid-century. The bad news is that the goal they have set still falls short. Our work continues.

    https://nextgenclimate.org/press/a-majority-of-congressional-democrats-introduce-bicameral-resolutions-supporting-a-clean-energy-economy/

    Current Senate cosponsors (30): Cardin, Carper, Reid, Schumer, Durbin, Klobuchar, Murray, Leahy, Mikulski, Coons, Wyden, Gillibrand, Nelson, Boxer, Shaheen, Merkley, Udall, Heinrich, Blumenthal, Booker, Feinstein, Franken, Markey, Menendez, Hirono, Schatz, Warren, King, Whitehouse, Murphy

    Current House cosponsors (103): Becerra, Beyer, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Bordallo, Boyle, Brownley, Bustos, Capps, Capuano, Cardenas, Carney, Cartwright, Castor, Castro, Chu, Cicilline, Katherine Clark, Yvette D. Clarke, Clyburn, Cohen, Connolly, Conyers, Courtney, Crowley, Cummings, Delaney, DeLauro, DelBene, Desaulnier, Edwards, Ellison, Eshoo, Esty, Foster, Grayson, Gutierrez, Hahn, Denny Heck, Higgins, Himes, Honda, Huffman, Israel, Hank Johnson, Keating, Kennedy, Kildee, Kilmer, Kuster, Langevin, Larsen, Larson, Barbara Lee, Levin, Lewis, Lieu, Lofgren, Lujan, Lujan Grisham, Lynch, Sean Patrick Maloney, Matsui, McDermott, McGovern, Meeks, Meng, Moulton, Murphy, Nadler, Napolitano, Neal, Nolan, Norton, Payne, Peters, Pingree, Pocan, Polis, Quigley, Rangel, Rice, Ruppersberger, Rush, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schiff, Bobby Scott, David Scott, Sherman, Slaughter, Adam Smith, Swalwell, Tim Ryan, Takano, Tonko, Tsongas, Van Hollen, Vargas, Velazquez, Waters, Welch, Yarmuth,√
  • commented 2016-03-10 17:53:40 -0500
    Urgency related to sea level rise varies with the author http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-the-city-of-miami-is-doomed-to-drown-20130620#ixzz2X0NGzxLY Notably, scientists modeling polar ice melting agree that many glaciers have passed a point of no return and each day we add GhGs to the atmosphere, we increase the speed of their melting contributes to sea level rise, as well as the magnitude of that rise.
  • commented 2016-02-10 18:38:30 -0500
    Part of today’s profound concern over methane was initially driven by the continued failure to correct errors in Methane calculations done in the United States. The problem clearly emerged with new data on atmospheric methane in 2009 and grew substantially when IPCC in 2013 adopted the more accurate multiplier effects for methane as 86x and 34x, over the 20-year and 100-year time frames, respectively. Federal scientists often relied on a multiplier of 21x or 25x that of carbon dioxide over the 100-year time frame and have recently begun to consider 34-36×.

    Laying aside the scientific research papers that suggest the Methane multiplier is 86x – 105x that of carbon dioxide over the 20 year time frame, the greater concern is that there is simultaneous widespread failure to focus an analysis on the 20 year time frame. In the earlier days of thinking about climate change, there was a focus on what would have the greatest negative impact over the greatest period of time and from that perspective, carbon dioxide was the natural target. Since that time a few things have shifted.

    We know that the pace of climate change is accelerating. http://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2552.epdf?referrer_access_token=YrI8KzkoCHWuTKEjF1SpxdRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0Maxp1OzOdsuIUQta_dtboeC8k_NOqTYhxR_a0SVlI3zfSvlCsgwTT4dXi7M80FgNfbBRVY_TGruuMzutlWy6fxjBU64kwmWPcFYOjUBA_5vvcI870S9_sc0Xv4u2yJEDtkhR6zLmkM5Dce2AXJGu6Ua3qMbp0KHoqOkuaTYX-qVA%3D%3D&tracking_referrer=thinkprogress.org

    More specifically, the rate of polar ice melting is accelerating http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2328/
    and there is a highly elevated awareness of positive feedback loops. If you melt snow and ice, there is less reflection of solar rays and more absorption, therefore more heating taking place more rapidly. And the more you melt, the more things heat up and melt faster. http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-effects/sea-ice.html
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/08/27/nasa-sea-level-rise-is-accelerating-as-ice-melts/

    Then there’s the idea of a tipping point

    , we recognize growing concern that

    There is growing concern that
    , partly because realistic estimates of what the COP21 INDC’s can actually accomplish and partly because the continued failure to correct errors in calculations on methane present a rapidly expanding problem.

    To be clear, we celebrate the COP21 achievement of an international political agreement to take action, but now we want to move on to the fact that the planned actions are inadequate to the task. This is especially cogent in light of…
    1. a widespread underestimation of the Global Warming Potential of fugitive methane. The attached letter scientific community July 2014 letter to Executive Branch leaders is a vital reference. See attached “CBD Scientists on Methane.pdf or ”https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/climate_law_institute/global_warming_what_how_why/methane/pdfs/Scientist_letter_re_methane_GWP_7-29-14.pdf">https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/climate_law_institute/global_warming_what_how_why/methane/pdfs/Scientist_letter_re_methane_GWP_7-29-14.pdf


    The assertions in the 2014 methane letter from the scientific community are essentially as accurate today as they were in 2014. The federal government has routinely used old conversion factors from IPCC 1996 and 2007, which are often the starting point for new studies and policy analysis in government as well as academic science. Such calculations usually start from the premise that methane has a global warming potential that is 21x or 25x that of carbon dioxide over the 100-year time frame. However, IPCC 2013 adopted the more accurate multiplier effects for methane as 34x and 86x over the 20-year and 100-year time frames, respectively.

    Based on these corrections, it is readily apparent that methane has had a more significant impact than previously recognized on the acceleration of climate change over the last 10 years and it will continue to have this disproportionate impact over the next 20 years.

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/09oct_methanehotspot/ time frame that may be useful in achieving a more rapid impact on the rate of climate change than an exclusive focus on carbon dioxide emissions.

    Putting aside the reports that methane may have a Global Warming Potential that falls between 86x and 105x that of carbon dioxide, the other very serious problem is the focus on the 100-year frame.

    If there exists a considerable amount of naturally stored methane in it was then, but now enough time has passed without action such that the status quot approaches a crisis.
    1. its pivotal role driving climate change in the 20 year time line, and the possibility that a “methane burp” from melting polar ice, tundra, and deep see beds could suddenly release massive quantities of stored GhG, which in the case of methane, as a much higher radiative forcing than carbon dioxide and pound-for-pound would deliver a much more significant impact on the climate quite rapidly.


    According to a seminal UNEP report: “Climate projections indicate substantial permafrost loss and degradation by 2100. Wide-spread permafrost degradation will permanently change local hydrology, increasing the frequency of fire and erosion disturbances. The number of wetlands and lakes will increase in continuous permafrost zones and decrease in discontinuous zones. Overall, the total number of wetlands and lakes will decrease as the continuous permafrost zone shrinks, impacting critical habitat, particularly for migratory birds. Risks associated with rock falls and erosion will increase, particularly in cold mountain areas. Damage to critical infrastructure, such as buildings and roads, will incur significant social and economic costs. Degrading permafrost can release enough CO2 and methane to influence global climate, amplifying warming due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Permafrost contains approximately 1672 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon in the form of frozen organic matter. If the permafrost thaws, so will the organic matter, which will then decay, potentially releasing large amounts of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. Emissions from thawing permafrost could start within the next few decades and continue for several centuries, influencing both short-term climate (before 2100) and long-term climate (after 2100).
    ”http://www.unep.org/pdf/permafrost.pdf">http://www.unep.org/pdf/permafrost.pdf
    1. Another point to consider is that without a “methane burp”, just following the course were on in light of COP21 is simply inadequate to the task.


    Hansen, et al wrote: “2C global warming above the preindustrial level, instead of being a safe ‘guardrail’, is highly dangerous… We have a global crisis that calls for international cooperation to reduce emissions as rapidly as practical.” http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/07/20/hansen-2c-warming-will-raise-sea-level-several-metres/

    Hansen et al wrote: “With a 2°C increase, sea level rise of several meters could be expected. Increased climate extremes, already apparent at 0.8°C warming, would be more severe. Coral reefs and associated species, already stressed with current conditions, would be decimated by increased acidification, temperature and sea level rise.
    ”http://www.climatechangenews.com/2013/12/03/james-hansen-2-c-temperature-rise-would-be-disastrous/">http://www.climatechangenews.com/2013/12/03/james-hansen-2-c-temperature-rise-would-be-disastrous/
  • published this page in Climate Solutions Forum 2016-02-10 17:37:34 -0500