I am running on fumes.
And so apparently is the Southwestern U.S., where satellite imagery has revealed a methane hotspot, that is leaking methane (a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide but not as long lasting) into the atmosphere near the "Four Corners" area where the borders of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet. How much methane? This much:
It contains about 1.3 million pounds of methane a year. That's about 80 percent more than the EPA figured. That amount would trap more heat than all the carbon dioxide produced yearly in Sweden.
University of Michigan scientist Eric Kort said the methane likely comes from leaks as workers extract natural gas from coal beds...
To be more precise ...
The hot spot the researchers found, which was validated by ground instruments, covers about 2,500 square miles over the Four Corners area, where coal-bed methane development in the area released about 650,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere annually for each of the seven years.
That amounts to 10 percent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s official estimate of methane emissions for all of the U.S. during those years. [...]
No higher rate of methane emissions was found anywhere else in the U.S. during that period.
The research follows numerous new studies that show that natural gas production and distribution leak an amount of methane that scientists have yet to fully quantify. The studies also suggest leaking methane is not figured into official government estimates of total U.S. methane emissions.
In another study published this week in the journal Earth’s Future, researchers from the University of Bremen, Germany, and the University of Maryland used satellite data to estimate that methane emissions from oil and gas fields in North Dakota and Texas are increasing and may be leaking into the atmosphere as much as 10 percent of the gas produced in those areas.
Ten percent of all US greenhouse gas emission just so a few greedy companies could strip mine coal and further destroy not only the local environment, but also assist in accelerating the effects of man-made climate change.
This is region of the country is a natural fit for producing solar power, since the sun shines more hours each year than any other part of the country save possibly Nevada. But the Walmart heirs, ALEC and the Koch brothers etc. are all doing their best to destroy renewable solar energy.
Meanwhile, our world has a fever from all these toxic gases(to life anyway) gas, and that fever is it's leading us down the path of a mass extinction event. Methane is the worst of them in the short term, and these methane leaks are likely magnifying the unprecedented drought in the Southwestern United States:
Over the span of a century, methane is 35 times as strong as carbon dioxide as a climate change-driving greenhouse gas and has a significant effect on exacerbating global warming in the short term.
Other mass murderers of the 20th Century were pikers compared to the aforementioned power mad billionaires and their army of lobbyists and dirty money. We are on target for Four degrees Celcius rise in the mean global temperature by 2100, if not sooner. That is a doomsday level for much of life on this planet, with adverse effects not only on the oceans (acidification and sea level rise) and animals, but also on vegetation.
But hey, who gives a damn? We'll all be dead by then, right? George Bush was more prescient then he knew.