Share

Climate Activist Uses Questionable Data To Claim Dangerous Levels Of Methane Gas

Share

An anti-fossil fuel movement proponent dubiously claimed Tuesday natural gas development’s methane emissions are hitting catastrophic levels.

Activists are failing to impress upon people the dangers associated with the fracking industry, according to professor Bill McKibben of Vermont’s Middlebury College.

He also suggested most research shows methane emissions from natural gas are pitching above a safe level, yet many studies show the antithesis.

“When I think about my greatest failing as a communicator — and one of the greatest failings of the climate movement — it’s not that global warming still continues,” McKibben wrote Wednesday for Yale Environment 360. The movement’s biggest moral failing, he said, was not selling people on the danger unchecked methane emissions pose to the climate.

Democrats, Republicans and the public have generally accepted the idea natural gas is a fine alternative to other forms of fossil fuel production, but the general population is unaware methane emissions from such energy put the climate in a precarious spot, McKibben added.

Trending:
Top Law Enforcement Officials: Facebook and Google Made a Big Deal in Secret, Zuckerberg Directly Implicated

“It turns out that there are lots of places for leaks to happen — when you frack a field, when you connect a pipe, when you send gas thousands of miles through pumping stations — and so most studies show that the leakage rate is at least 3 percent and probably higher,” he noted without citing any specific study buttressing his claim.

McKibben relied on data from Cornell University ecology professor Bob Howard’s studies to conclude methane emission leakage rates were nearly 3 percent, he told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Howard’s work has been criticized in the past for using too short a time frame. He uses a 20-year window to study the global warming potential of methane emissions in the atmosphere as opposed to the more common 100-year horizon.

Environmental groups have also scrutinized Howard’s work.

Do you have doubts about liberals' climate change claims?

“While I can see an argument for using a time horizon shorter than 100 years, I personally believe that the 20-year GWP is too short a period to be appropriate for policy analysis,” former National Resources Defense Council Director Dan Lashof said in 2011 of McKibben’s chronological methodology.

Environmental Protection Agency research and other studies, meanwhile, paint a much different story.

Actual emissions from gas power plants were “nearly 50 times lower than previously estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency,” a 2013 University of Texas study availed. Researchers at UT concluded methane emissions from the supply chain’s upstream portion are 0.38 percent of production.

EPA’s latest methane emissions data from 2017 show very low methane leakage rates of approximately 1.2 percent.

The agency and UT’s data and research were concluded using the more reliable 100-year time frame.

Related:
Biden Blindsides Red State, Kills Game-Changing Energy Plan That May Have Solved USA's Gas Crisis

McKibben has spent several years thrashing Democratic leaders for promoting the natural gas industry.

He was singing a different tune in 2009, when he felt so strongly about power plants switching to natural gas he was willing to be jailed in support of the cause. He was one of several celebrities who protested on Capitol Power Plant’s front steps in Washington, D.C.

“There are moments in a nation’s — and a planet’s — history when it may be necessary for some to break the law. … We will cross the legal boundary of the power plant, and we expect to be arrested,” McKibben told reporters prior to the March 3, 2009, protest.

“[I]t would be easy enough to fix. In fact, the facility can already burn some natural gas instead, and a modest retrofit would let it convert away from coal entirely. … It would even stimulate the local economy,” he added.

A version of this article previously appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, ,
Share
Founded by Tucker Carlson, a 25-year veteran of print and broadcast media, and Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, The Daily Caller News Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit providing original investigative reporting from a team of professional reporters that operates for the public benefit.




Conversation

The Western Journal is pleased to bring back comments to our articles! Due to threatened de-monetization by Big Tech, we had temporarily removed comments, but we have now implemented a solution to bring back the conversation that Big Tech doesn't want you to have. If you have any problems using the new commenting platform, please contact customer support at commenting-help@insticator.com. Welcome back!