Before you do anything else, take ten seconds and watch the earth breath over the course of a year.

Greenhouse Gases

GREENHOUSE GASES

Greenhouse Gases from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century.

A little history

For most of the past 800,000 years—longer than human civilization has existed—the concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere was between about 200 and 280 parts per million. (In other words, there were 200 to 280 molecules of the gases per million molecules of air.) But in the past century, that concentration has jumped to more than 400 parts per million, driven up by human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. 

Identified by scientists as far back as 1896, the natural warming of the earth (that results when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat from the sun --that would otherwise escape into space) creates what is called the greenhouse effect. To quote from the NRDC, this is a good thing until it isn’t. It warms the planet to its comfortable average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) and keeps life on earth, well, livable. Without it the world would be a frozen, uninhabitable place, more like Mars. The problem is, mankind’s voracious burning of fossil fuels for energy is artificially amping up the natural greenhouse effect.

How Does the Greenhouse Effect Work?

Sunlight makes the earth habitable. While 30% of the solar energy that reaches our world is reflected back to space, approximately 70%  is absorbed by the land and the oceans (often called “carbon sinks”, with the rest being absorbed by the atmosphere, heating our planet. This heat is then radiated back up in the form of invisible infrared light. While some of this infrared light continues on into space, the vast majority—indeed, some 90% —gets absorbed by atmospheric gases, known as greenhouse gases, and redirected back toward the earth, causing further warming. This is what is often called “the greenhouse effect”.

The result? An increase in global warming that is altering the planet’s climate systems in countless ways. 

Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect

Carbon dioxide (CO2) enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and other biological materials, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). About 76% of global human-caused emissions sticks around for quite a while. Once emitted,  40% still remains after 100 years, 20% after 1,000 years, and 10% as long as 10,000 years later.

Methane (CH4) is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil as well as resulting from livestock , other agricultural practices, land use & decay of organic waste in municipal landfills).While super-polluting greenhouse gas emissions like methane don’t last  in the atmosphere as long as CO2 (living decades rather than centuries), they do plenty of damage while they’re hanging around, accelerating the pace of global warming. A United Nations study issued in May, 2021 suggested that focusing on methane reductions from fossil fuels activities, landfills and agricultural production could help avoid almost 0.3 degrees Celsius of warming by the early 2040s.

Nitrous oxide (N20) is emitted during agricultural, land use, industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste, as well as during treatment of wastewater.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes.

Water Vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas increasing as the Earth’s atmosphere warms, but so does the possibility of clouds and precipitation.

Each of these gases can remain in the atmosphere for different amounts of time, ranging from a few years to thousands of years. They all remain long enough to become well mixed, meaning that the amount that is measured in the atmosphere is roughly the same all over the world, regardless of the source of the emissions.

Some gases are more effective than others at making the planet warmer and “thickening the Earth’s blanket.” The EPA has that covered as well.

CREDIT: EPA

CREDIT: EPA

The Consequences

As greenhouse gas emissions from human activities increase, they build up in the atmosphere and warm the climate, pushing the planet into unprecedented territory, ravaging ecosystems, raising sea levels and exposing millions of people to new weather extremes, not to mention accelerating disease and extinction to all forms of life. At the current rate of emissions, the world will burn through its remaining “carbon budget” by 2030 — putting the ambitious goal of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) irrevocably out of reach.

What do the Scientists Say

The latest IPCC report (4/4/2022) suggests that the world is running out of options to hit climate goals. Governments, businesses and individuals must summon the willpower to transform economies, embrace new habits and leave behind the age of fossil fuels — or face the catastrophic consequences of unchecked climate change.

What is the Federal Government Doing

During the Trump administration, U.S. action around most super pollutants (with the exception of nitrogen oxide) came from states and cities, with the cooperation of some industry associations. That’s changing under the Biden administration, although even there, change has proven difficult, as demonstrated, for example, when the Build Back Better bill, the most sweeping climate bill in U.S. history collapsed after coal-state Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) pulled his support. 

  • In April of 2021, a bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate reinstated an Obama-era regulation that requires oil and gas companies to monitor and repair methane leaks along pipelines, at storage facilities and in extraction operations (one of more than 100 environmental rules slashed by former President Trump).
  • In April of 2021, the Department of Energy (DoE)  committed $35 million for technologies to reduce methane, which it estimates contributes about 10 % of annual GHG emissions. The funding is focused on solutions for dealing with the exhaust from natural gas engines; rethinking the practice of flaring; and handling coal mine ventilation.
  • In May of 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also announced it is moving forward to phase down HFCs, mainly used for refrigerators and air conditioners. This measure, according to the EPA and the legislators supporting this action, would help to avoid 0.5 degrees of warming by 2100. The rule falls under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation adopted in late 2020 that provides “regulatory certainty” for decreasing the production and import of HFCs into the U.S. by 85 percent over the next 15 years.
  • More than 100 countries have signed the Global Methane Pledge, which requires a 30% cut in methane emissions by 2030. In November of 2021, the Biden administration unveiled new rules to curb methane, from oil and gas operations.
  • On April 23, 2022, Biden, at the Leader’s Summit on Climate. pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by 2030.
  • Biden got some good news in May of 2022, when the Supreme Court allowed the administration to use a higher estimate for the societal cost of rising greenhouse gases as federal agencies draft regulations, turning aside a request from Republican-led states to prevent agencies from estimating the “social cost of carbon.”

Effects of the Coronavirus

Based on preliminary data for 2021, Rhodium Group estimated, in January 2022, that economy-wide GHG emissions increased 6.2% in 2021 relative to 2020, though emissions remained 5% below 2019 levels. Current estimates put year-on-year GDP growth at 5.7%. indicating that GHG emissions rebounded slightly faster than the overall economy in 2021, largely due to a jump in coal-fired power generation, which increased 17% from 2020, and a rapid rebound in road transportation (primarily freight). As a result, progress in reducing US GHG emissions was reversed in 2021, moving from 22.2% below 2005 levels in 2020 to only 17.4% in 2021, putting the US even further off track from achieving its 2025 and 2030 climate targets. More on CCRs CORONAVIRUS page.

New Technologies?

What climate-tech superheroes hope to play a role in combating these super-pollutant villains? Look to our NEW TECHNOLOGIES page where the majority of explorations focus on carbon capture not reduction.

Some of these investments will no doubt be controversial with climate activists, who are likely to argue (legitimately) that they perpetuate natural gas extraction processes. There is no doubt, however, that regulating methane gas is critical for advancing President Joe Biden’s goal to slash U.S. emissions in half from 2005 levels over the next decade and achieve a net-zero economy by 2050.

Old Technologies

There is a great deal of discussion about importance of planting trees on land and kelp in the ocean to sequester carbon. More on that to be found on other pages: SEA TO SOILLAND & DEFORESTATION, and OCEAN AS CARBON SINK.

CURRENT NEWS

Alarmed by Climate Change, Astronomers Train Their Sights on Earth

By Katrina Miller and Delger Erdenesanaa 05/14/24
On the morning of Jan. 18, 2003, Penny Sackett, then director of the Australian National University’s Mount Stromlo Observatory outside Canberra, received a concerning email from a student at the facility. Bush fires that had…
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Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory just captured ominous signals about the planet’s health

By Scott Dance 05/10/24
Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory just captured an ominous sign about the pace of global warming. Atmospheric levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide aren’t just on their way to yet another record high this year — they’re…
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Largest Year–Over-Year Gain in Keeling Curve Set in March

By Robert Monroe 05/08/24
The monthly average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in March 2024 was 4.7 parts per million (ppm) higher than that recorded in March 2023, setting a new…
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Methane emissions from gas flaring being hidden from satellite monitors

By Tom Brown and Christina Last 05/02/24
Oil and gas equipment intended to cut methane emissions is preventing scientists from accurately detecting greenhouse gases and pollutants, a satellite image investigation has revealed.
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More climate-warming methane leaks into the atmosphere than ever gets reported – here’s how satellites can find the leaks and avoid wasting a valuable resource

By Riley Duren 04/16/24
Email X (Twitter) Facebook35 LinkedIn Print Far more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is being released from landfills and oil and gas operations around the world than governments realized, recent airborne and satellite surveys show.…
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Explosive levels of methane have been detected near a Berkeley landfill-turned-park

By Tony Briscoe 04/11/24
Brimming with wildlife and offering panoramic views of San Francisco Bay, César Chávez Park welcomes visitors who might never suspect this stretch of shoreline was built atop a municipal landfill.
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Three Greenhouse Gases, Three All-Time Highs

By David Gelles 04/09/24
The extreme weather. The melting glaciers. The weirdly warm oceans. They’re all the product of global warming, which is being driven by the release of the three most important heat-trapping gases: carbon dioxide, methane and…
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80 Percent of Global CO2 Emissions Come From Just 57 Companies, Report Shows

By Christian Thorsberg 04/09/24
A new analysis released last week by the international nonprofit InfluenceMap reveals an overwhelmingly unequal share of fossil fuel pollution worldwide. From 2016 to 2022, 80 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions were produced by…
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Scientists confirm record highs for three most important heat-trapping gases

By Oliver Milman 04/06/24
Global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide climbed to unseen levels in 2023, underlining climate crisisThe levels of the three most important heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere reached new record highs again last…
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Big oil is racing to scale up carbon capture to slash emissions but the challenges are immense

By Spencer Kimball 04/06/24
A paper mill in a small Mississippi town could help demonstrate whether capturing carbon dioxide emissions and storing it deep underground is a viable path to fight climate change. The proposed project at International Paper’s…
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The Carbon Majors Database: Launch Report

04/01/24
The Carbon Majors database traces 1,421 GtCO2e of cumulative historical emissions from 1854 through 2022 to 122 industrial producers, the CO2 portion of which is equivalent to 72% of global fossil fuel and cement CO2…
Read more

Landfills releasing methane at higher rates, study finds

By Damita Menezes 03/31/24
Landfills across the United States are a significant source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change, a new study reveals. The findings show significant point source methane emissions were detected at…
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KEY RESOURCES

Causes of climate change

04/22/24
Burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests and farming livestock are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth’s temperature.

Global Methane Tracker 2024

03/01/24
Methane is responsible for around 30% of the rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, and rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions are key to limiting near-term global warming and improving air quality.…

Vital Signs

12/04/23
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping gas, also known as a greenhouse gas, that comes from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, and natural gas), from wildfires, and natural…

Rulemaking Notices for GHG Reporting

08/28/23
This page provides a listing of Federal Register notices and links to more information for rule changes and proposed rule changes that affect the reporting requirements for Reporting Year 2016 and beyond.

The Cost Of Climate Pollution

08/28/23
Climate change will have, and in some cases has already had, severe consequences for society. These consequences range from disruption of daily life to major physical destruction, including the spread of disease, decreased food security,…

Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

05/12/23
Based on the annual report from NOAA’s Global Monitoring Lab, global average atmospheric carbon dioxide was 417.06 parts per million (“ppm” for short) in 2022, setting a new record high. The increase between 2021 and…

EPA Publishes 30th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory

04/13/23
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 30th annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (GHG Inventory), which presents a national-level overview of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2021.…

Get the Facts on HFCs

04/06/23
They were introduced to replace the gases that caused the ozone hole and are used mainly as refrigerants in cooling systems - from our fridges, cars, and home air conditioners to factories and supermarkets. Today…

Exxon The Road Not Taken

09/13/22
This nine-part history of Exxon’s engagement with the emerging science of climate change is the result of an eight months-long investigation conducted in 2015. The stories span four decades, and are based on primary sources,…

Report on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

09/01/22
This report presents new estimates of the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2), social cost of methane (SC-CH4), and social cost of nitrous oxide (SC-N2O), collectively referred to as the “social cost of greenhouse gases” (SC-GHG).…

U.S.-EU Joint Press Release on the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway

06/17/22
The following text was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the European Union. Today, the United States, the European Union, and 11 countries launched the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway…

What is ‘committed warming’? A climate scientist explains why global warming can continue after emissions end

06/09/22
It refers to future increases in global temperatures that will be caused by greenhouse gases that have already been emitted. In other words, if the clean energy transition happened overnight, how much warming would still…

Development of a Framework for Evaluating Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information for Decision Making

06/07/22
This fast-track consensus study will develop a framework for evaluating global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) information to support decision making. The committee will examine emerging approaches that supplement self-reported data with other independent data sources…

GHG Reduction Programs & Strategies

06/06/22
A wide range of strategies are available to help organizations reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Below are a list of resources and guides to help your organization identify and implement GHG reduction opportunities.

What are greenhouse gases?

06/06/22
Greenhouse gases are gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. They let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but they prevent the heat that the sunlight brings from leaving the atmosphere. The main greenhouse gases are:

Carbon Dioxide Latest Measurement

06/01/22
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, as well as natural processes such as respiration and volcanic eruptions. The first…

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

05/23/22
Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse…

Methane Emissions: A Primer

03/16/22
Methane is the world’s simplest hydrocarbon, with a chemical formula of CH4 (one atom of carbon and four

The noaa annual greenhouse gas index (aggi)

03/01/22
ncreases in the abundance of atmospheric greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution are mainly the result of human activity and are largely responsible for the observed increases in global temperature [IPCC 2014]. Because climate projections…

Reducing methane is the fastest way to slow global warming

10/26/21
Raise the alarm for countries to reduce methane and carbon dioxide pollution. Join the methane movement. #cutmethane

How You Can Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions at Home

09/16/21
Take advantage of the free home energy audits offered by many utilities. Then put the recommendations into practice. Simple measures, such as installing a programmable thermostat to replace your old dial unit or sealing and…

Energy and the environment explained

07/15/21
Many of the chemical compounds in the earth's atmosphere act as greenhouse gases. When sunlight strikes the earth’s surface, some of it radiates back toward space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared…

Carbon Dioxide

06/04/21
Latest Measurement: April 2021  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, as well as natural processes such as respiration and…

Greenhouse Effect 101

05/28/21
By increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we’re amplifying the planet’s natural greenhouse effect and turning up the dial on global warming.

Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

05/28/21
Did you ever wonder what reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1 million metric tons means in everyday terms? The greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator can help you understand just that, translating abstract measurements into concrete…

Each Country’s Share of CO2 Emissions

05/28/21
The world’s countries emit vastly different amounts of heat-trapping  gases into the atmosphere. The chart above and table below both show data compiled by the International Energy Agency, which estimates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from…

Architecture’s Carbon Problem

05/28/21
Rising global temperatures are causing climate-related natural disasters, and one of the biggest culprits is in plain sight: Buildings. In total, buildings account for about 40% of annual fossil fuel carbon-dioxide emissions (CO2), leading to…

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data

05/28/21
At the global scale, the key greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are: Carbon dioxide (CO2): Fossil fuel use is the primary source of CO2. CO2 can also be emitted from direct human-induced impacts on…

The Global Carbon Project

05/26/21
The Global Carbon Project (GCP) integrates knowledge of greenhouse gases for human activities and the Earth system. Our projects include global budgets for three dominant greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide —…

Household Carbon Footprint Calculator

05/26/21
Many of our daily activities cause emissions of greenhouse gases. For example, we produce greenhouse gas emissions from burning gasoline when we drive, burning oil or gas for home heating, or using electricity generated from…

Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks

05/26/21
EPA has prepared the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks since the early 1990s. This annual report provides a comprehensive accounting of total greenhouse gas emissions for all man-made sources in the United…

Overview of Greenhouse Gases

05/26/21
Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. This section provides information on emissions and removals of the main greenhouse gases to and from the atmosphere. For more information on the other…

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

05/26/21
Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse…

Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

03/21/17
Executive Order 12866 requires that federal agencies assess the cost and the benefits of intended regulations as part of their regulatory impact analyses (RIAs). The 1993 executive order stated

MORE NEWS

Aerial surveys show US landfills are major source of methane emissions

By Valerie Volcovici   03/29/24  
Over half of U.S. landfills observed by aerial surveys are super-emitting sources of methane, according to a new study in the journal Science published on Thursday. The study is the largest assessment to date of…
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Landfills bake the planet even more than we realized

By Sachi Kitajima Mulkey   03/28/24  
A landfill is a place of perpetual motion, where mountains of garbage rise in days and crews race to contain the influx of ever more trash. Amid the commotion, an invisible gas often escapes unnoticed,…
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A potent planet-warming gas is seeping out of US landfills at rates higher than previously thought, scientists say

By Rachel Ramirez   03/28/24  
Garbage piling up in landfills isn’t just an eyesore, it’s also a climate nightmare, belching out large amounts of planet-warming methane gas. In the United States, the problem could be much worse than previously thought,…
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Quantifying methane emissions from United States landfills

By Daniel H. Cusworth, Riley M. Duren and Others   03/28/24  
Methane emissions from solid waste may represent a substantial fraction of the global anthropogenic budget, but few comprehensive studies exist to assess inventory assumptions. We quantified emissions at hundreds of large landfills across 18 states…
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‘Garbage Lasagna’: Dumps Are a Big Driver of Warming, Study Says

By Hiroko Tabuchi   03/28/24  
They’re vast expanses that can be as big as towns: open landfills where household waste ends up, whether it’s vegetable scraps or old appliances. These landfills also belch methane, a powerful, planet-warming gas, on average…
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What’s the deal with these methane satellites?

By David Roberts   03/22/24  
Recent years have seen the launch of several satellites that boast the ability to detect methane emissions on the Earth's surface from near orbit. The latest and most high-profile launch took place on March 4:…
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Methane Experts Urge Cuts To Meet Climate Targets

By Robin Millard   03/21/24  
Experts urged countries to cut methane emissions in the energy industry as a quick and relatively cheap way of slowing global warming, at a key conference wrapping up Thursday.
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Biden Administration Announces Rules Aimed at Phasing Out Gas Cars

By Coral Davenport   03/20/24  
The Biden administration on Wednesday issued one of the most significant climate regulations in the nation’s history, a rule designed to ensure that the majority of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the…
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When We See the Climate More Clearly, What Will We Do?

By David Wallace-Wells   03/20/24  
This month MethaneSAT, an $88 million, 770-pound surveillance satellite conceived by the Environmental Defense Fund and designed at Harvard to precisely track the human sources of methane being released so promiscuously into the atmosphere, was…
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Biden Administration Announces Rule Aimed at Expanding Electric Vehicles

By Coral Davenport   03/20/24  
The Biden administration on Wednesday issued one of the most significant climate regulations in the nation’s history, a rule designed to ensure that the majority of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the…
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Fossil fuel industry under pressure to cut record-high methane emissions

By Matteo Civillini   03/13/24  
Energy analysts have been singing the same tune ad nauseam: cutting climate-harming methane emissions from fossil fuels is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to slow the rate of global warming fast. But oil,…
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US oil and gas system emissions from nearly one million aerial site measurements

By Evan D. Sherwin, Jeffrey S. Rutherford and Others   03/13/24  
As airborne methane surveys of oil and gas systems continue to discover large emissions that are missing from official estimates, the true scope of methane emissions from energy production has yet to be quantified. We…
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Why EPA can cut carbon pollution from power plants without sacrificing grid reliability

By Dena Adler and Jennifer Danis   03/07/24  
Roughly 1,800 regulators and other energy professionals gathered for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Winter Policy Summit last week where state and federal regulators had a lot to say about the clean energy…
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SpaceX Launch Opens New Front In Climate Fight

By Michael R. Bloomberg   03/07/24  
Elon Musk was inspired to revolutionize the auto industry to help save the planet from climate change. This week, his rocket company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., may have done more to fight climate change than…
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Why Are There So Many Methane Satellites?

By Emily Pontecorvo   03/05/24  
On Monday afternoon, a satellite the size of a washing machine hitched a ride on a SpaceX rocket and was launched into orbit. MethaneSAT, as the new satellite is called, is the latest to join…
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World’s biggest pollution monitor launches into orbit

By Bill Weir   03/05/24  
CNN's Bill Weir reports on a new satellite that launched Monday to track methane on Earth so governments and fossil fuel companies can be held accountable for the emissions that contribute to global warming.
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A new watchdog satellite will sniff out methane emissions from space

By Nicolás Rivero   03/04/24  
The global crackdown on methane emissions will get a boost from a watchdog satellite built to track and publicly reveal the biggest methane polluters in the oil and gas industry. The satellite launched March 4…
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Tracking an Invisible Climate Menace From 360 Miles Above

By Malika Khurana and Hiroko Tabuchi   03/03/24  
Six years ago, scientists at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund were wrapping up a major research project to measure methane leaks from oil and gas sites across Texas. Everywhere they looked — using planes, drones,…
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Biden EPA Narrows Power-Plant Rule With Plan For Later Curbs on US Gas Fleet

By Jennifer A Dlouhy   03/01/24  
The Biden administration is narrowing the scope of its pending rule to cut greenhouse gases from the electricity sector as it develops a new initiative to set stronger pollution limits for natural gas plants.
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Biden’s climate law fines oil companies for methane pollution. The bill is coming due.

By Naveena Sadasivam   02/20/24  
The Inflation Reduction Act, the 2021 U.S. climate law abbreviated IRA, primarily reduces emissions through financial incentives, rather than binding rules. But in addition to all its well-known carrots, lawmakers quietly included a smaller number…
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EDF and Google partner to map global methane emissions from space

By Jeff St. John   02/14/24  
By this time next year, a new satellite will be detecting how much methane is leaking from oil and gas wells, pumps, pipelines and storage tanks around the world — and companies, governments and nonprofit…
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Natural gas flare samples collected by aircraft reveal high variation in nitrogen oxides emission estimates

By Patricia DeLacey   02/08/24  
Natural gas flaring, or burning, is commonly used in parts of the United States to dispose of the gas byproduct from oil extraction. The flare's combustion converts hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water, which lessens…
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Why The U.S. Leads The World In Reducing Carbon Emissions

By Robert Rapier   02/04/24  
Following my previous story on the pause in U.S. liquefied natural gas exports, some readers had a hard time believing that the U.S. leads the world in reducing carbon emissions. Some suggested this was only…
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It’s 2030. Where Will U.S. Carbon Emissions Come From?

By Robinson Meyer   01/23/24  
The year is 2030. For much of the past decade, the United States has taken aggressive action to fight climate change. After passing the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, the Biden administration regulated carbon pollution…
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Will storing CO2 in old oil fields slow global warming? First California plan nears approval

By Tony Briscoe   01/14/24  
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a California oil company’s plans to permanently store carbon emissions deep underground to combat global warming — the first proposal of its kind to be tentatively…
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Rhodium: US greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2023, despite economic growth

By Lamar Johnson   01/11/24  
The power sector had an 8% drop in emissions last year, with natural gas and renewables both seeing increased generation, according to Rhodium.
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The Climate Summit Starts to Crack a Tough Nut: Emissions From Food

By Somini Sengupta   12/12/23  
It’s hard enough for world leaders to figure out the future of coal, oil and gas in a warming world. What about the future of bread and milk? The food system accounts for around 30…
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Climate progress in charts: Gaps and gains, as world meets in Dubai

By Mark Trumbull and Jacob Turcotte   12/07/23  
Professional researchers who study Earth’s climate say there is no doubt about some basic trends: Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are rising fast, human burning of fossil fuels is the key reason, and the result…
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Biden Administration Announces Rule to Cut Millions of Tons of Methane Emissions

By Jim Tankersley and Lisa Friedman   12/02/23  
Vice President Kamala Harris pledged at a United Nations climate summit on Saturday that the United States would spend billions more to help developing nations fight and adapt to climate change, telling world leaders that…
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U.S. Carbon Emissions Set to Fall Again, a Key Sign of Progress

By E&E News and Benjamin Storrow   11/21/23  
A projected drop in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions—one of the largest of the past decade—is still not enough to meet the country’s commitments under the Paris climate accord. U.S. emissions are on track to fall…
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Texas produces twice as much methane as better regulated neighbor, study finds

By Oliver Milman   11/08/23  
Oil and gas production in Texas is spewing out double the rate of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, than in the more regulated state of New Mexico, new satellite data shared with the Guardian shows,…
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Maintaining A Reliable Grid Under EPA’s Proposed 111 Rules Restricting Power Plant Emissions

11/07/23  
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed “111 rules” restricting greenhouse gas emissions have sparked debate about whether they will create consequences that threaten grid reliability. However, rather than raising new concerns, these objections principally raise…
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The World’s Biggest Carbon Removal Plant Just Turned 2. So, Uh, Is It Working?

By Emily Pontecorvo   10/31/23  
In the spring of 2021, the world’s leading authority on energy published a “roadmap” for preventing the most catastrophic climate change scenarios. One of its conclusions was particularly daunting. Getting energy-related emissions down to net…
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Landfills in Washington and Oregon leaked ‘explosive’ levels of methane last year

By Joseph Winters   10/26/23  
Landfills in Oregon and Washington repeatedly exceeded federal standards for methane emissions last year, according to documents obtained by an environmental group.
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China Set to Release Long-Awaited Methane Plan Before COP28

By Bloomberg News   10/25/23  
The Chinese government is preparing to publish a roadmap to cut emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, before the COP28 summit that starts in November.
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Carbon removal looks more promising by the day. Is methane next?

By Chelsea Harvey   10/19/23  
Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is essential to meeting international climate goals, scientists say. Without it, it’s all but impossible to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to limit global warming to 1.5…
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The next front in the climate fight: U.S. exports of natural gas

By Maxine Joselow and Timothy Puko   10/17/23  
Environmentalists are gearing up for their next giant climate fight: They want to force a showdown with the Biden administration over the massive expansion of U.S. natural gas exports. Less than a decade ago, U.S.…
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Urgent action to cut methane emissions from fossil fuel operations essential to achieve global climate targets

10/11/23  
Decisive, far-reaching efforts to cut methane emissions from fossil fuel production and use must go hand-in-hand with decarbonisation of our energy systems to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, according to a new report by…
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Immediate Methane Cuts Can Prevent Nearly a Million Premature Deaths, IEA Says

By Aaron Clark   10/11/23  
Immediate and targeted methane cuts from the fossil fuel industry could prevent nearly 1 million premature deaths due to ozone exposure by midcentury, the International Energy Agency said in a report released Wednesday. The reductions…
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Wyoming passes up federal funds to voluntarily close oil and gas wells

By Dustin Bleizeffer   10/05/23  
Gov. Mark Gordon announced this week the state will decline an invitation to apply for millions in federal Inflation Reduction Act funds aimed at shuttering low-producing oil and gas wells.
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Natural Gas Leaks Throughout Path From Well To End Use

By Michael Barnard   09/20/23  
The world has a methane gas problem. We love to burn natural gas, which is mostly methane, to make electricity and heat. Our agricultural and food systems leave a lot of biomass lying around where…
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U.S. fossil exports wipe out carbon cuts — report

By Jean Chemnick   09/15/23  
Carbon emissions from U.S. exports of fossil fuels are erasing hard-won domestic greenhouse gas reductions — and are on track to prevent the United States from meeting its climate goals.
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Methane From Oil and Gas Are Worse Than Reported to UN, Satellites Show

By Aaron Clark   09/15/23  
Observed methane releases from global oil and gas operations are 30% higher than what countries estimate in reports to the UN, according to a new study that analyzed satellite observations of the potent greenhouse gas.
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California Senate approves orphan oil wells bill

By Wes Venteicher   09/13/23  
The California Senate narrowly approved a bill Wednesday that would require oil well owners to take more responsibility upfront for the costs of eventually plugging used wells.
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Why Biden’s methane fee could backfire

By Maxine Joselow   09/07/23  
President Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, largely offers carrots for polluting industries to cut their emissions. But it also has a powerful stick: the Methane Emissions Reduction Program.
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Milton Friedman’s Alma Mater Exposes Huge Cost of Emissions

By Frances Schwartzkopff   08/24/23  
A study published by academics at the University of Chicago has found that corporate emissions are undermining prosperity. The damage caused when publicly traded companies emit greenhouse gases is equivalent — on average — to…
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YSE Scientists Make Critical Breakthrough in Mapping Global Methane Emissions from Rivers and Streams

08/18/23  
Methane levels in the atmosphere are now more than two and a half times their pre-industrial level, accounting for 25% of global warming to date. Understanding the many sources of methane emissions and how they…
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The richest Americans account for 40 percent of U.S. climate emissions

By Kasha Patel   08/17/23  
The richest 10 percent of U.S. households are responsible for 40 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study released Thursday in PLOS Climate. The study, which looked at how a household’s…
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Biden-Harris Administration Proposes to Improve Air Pollution Emissions Data

07/25/23  
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed updates to the Agency’s Air Emissions Reporting Requirements rule, including proposing to require reporting of hazardous air pollutants, or “air toxics.” Air toxics are known or suspected…
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Canada wildfires devour land, vault CO2 emissions higher

From Andrew Freedman   07/19/23  
The simultaneous, record-shattering heat in the U.S., Europe and Asia may be getting all the headlines (more on these events below), but hotter and drier-than-average conditions are fueling the disaster unfolding in Canada.
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