Tag Archives: methane

Planet’s Vital Signs Are Reaching Dangerous ‘Tipping Points’ Amid Climate Crisis, Scientists Warn

“We need to stop treating the climate emergency as a stand-alone issue—global heating is not the sole symptom of our stressed Earth system.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-28-2021

Human activity may be pushing the climate beyond dangerous ‘tipping points,’ say 14,000 scientists. As the extreme drought emergency continues in California, historically low water levels are visible at Lake Oroville on July 22, 2021 in Oroville, California. Photo: NOAA

More than a year after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down economies around the world and sharply reduced worldwide travel—sparking speculation among some that emissions would plummet as a result—a coalition of scientists said in a paper published Wednesday that the planet is nonetheless reaching multiple “tipping points,” with levels of sea ice melt, deforestation, and other markers revealing that urgent action is needed to mitigate the climate emergency.

“The extreme climate events and patterns that we’ve witnessed over the last several years — not to mention the last several weeks — highlight the heightened urgency with which we must address the climate crisis,” said Philip Duffy, co-author of the study and executive director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. Continue reading

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‘Biggest Story in the World Right Now’: Humanity Has Flipped Amazon From Carbon Sink to Source

The findings, said one expert, “show that the uncertain future is happening now.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-14-2021

Fire in the Amazon. Photo: Luísa Mota/flickr/CC

Following years of warnings and mounting fears among scientists, “terrifying” research revealed Wednesday that climate change and deforestation have turned parts of the Amazon basin, a crucial “sink,” into a source of planet-heating carbon dioxide.

Though recent research has elevated concerns about the Amazon putting more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than it absorbs, the new findings, published in the journal Nature, were presented as a “first” by scientists and climate reporters. Continue reading

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House Passes Resolution to Reverse ‘Reckless’ Trump-Era Methane Rule

“Biden should direct the EPA to use the full power of the Clean Air Act to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas by 65% by 2025,” said one advocate.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2021

Gas well flaring in the Marcelus Shale. Screenshot: YouTube

Progressive advocates celebrated the U.S. House’s passage Friday of a resolution to reinstate federal regulations on methane pollution, while also emphasizing that confronting the climate emergency requires implementing stronger safeguards.

The resolution reversed the Trump administration’s rollback last August of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules governing oil and gas companies’ emissions of the potent greenhouse gas. Continue reading

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UN Chief Warns World on ‘Verge of the Abyss’ as WMO Releases Climate Report

The warning came alongside the release of the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate in 2020, which said it was one of the three warmest years on record.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-19-2021

The CZU lightning complex fire burns along Butano Ridge and in Pescadero Creek Park, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. This fire would later grow to over 85,000 acres and destroy over 900 structures. Photo: Inklein/Wikimedia Commons

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned Monday that humanity stands “on the verge of the abyss” as the climate crisis pushes the world “dangerously close” to hitting the 1.5 degree Celsius target limit of warming.

Guterres delivered the ominous remarks at the launch of the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) State of the Global Climate report—a publication he said “should alarm us all.” Continue reading

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‘We Have to Act’: Atmospheric CO2 Passes 420 PPM for First Time Ever

“It is truly groundbreaking,” Greta Thunberg said of the growing concentration of the heat-trapping gas. “And I don’t mean that in a good way.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-6-2021

FridaysForFuture protest in Berlin on 3-22-2019. Photo: Leonhard Lenz/CC

The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide surged past 420 parts per million for the first time in recorded history this past weekend, according to a measurement taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii.

When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research station “began collecting CO2 measurements in the late 1950s, atmospheric CO2 concentration sat at around 315 PPM,” the Washington Post reported. “On Saturday, the daily average was pegged at 421.21 PPM—the first time in human history that number has been so high.” Continue reading

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Senate Dems Employ Obscure Law in Effort to Reverse Trump Rollback of Methane Emissions Standards

While lawmakers are also using the Congressional Review Act to challenge one other policy change, it could be used to target dozens of deregulatory actions from Trump’s presidency.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-26-2021

Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State well on the Evanson family farm in McKenzie County, North Dakota. Photo: Tim Evanson/flickr/CC

Four members of the Democrat-controlled Senate this week introduced a resolution that would use an “obscure but powerful” federal law to reverse the Trump administration’s weakening of Obama-era rules on fossil fuel companies’ emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) along with Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Angus King (I-Maine)—who caucuses with the Democrats—led a larger group of lawmakers Thursday in introducing a resolution of disapproval, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to reinstate Obama-era methane rules. Continue reading

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‘No Safe Amount’: Environmentalists Sound Alarm Over Texas Refineries’ Release of Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of Pollutants During Storm

337,000 pounds of benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide were flared, as well as an indeterminate amount of methane.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-22-2021

Flaring at Shell Deer Park Refinery, Deer Park TX. Photo: Roy Luck/flickr/CC

Texas oil refineries released hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants including benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide into the air as they scrambled to shut down during last week’s deadly winter storm, Reuters reported Sunday.

Winter storm Uri, which killed dozens of people and cut off power to over four million Texans at its peak, also disrupted supplies needed to keep the state’s refineries and petrochemical plants operating. As they shut down, refineries flared—or burned off—gases in order to prevent damage to their processing units. Continue reading

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Humans May Have Passed the ‘Point of No Return’ in Climate Crisis, Says Study—But That Doesn’t Mean All Hope Is Lost

In order to roll back catastrophic carbon emissions, humans must “start developing the technologies for large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,” says one of the study’s lead authors.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2020

Melting permafrost in Canada’s Northwest Territories sends carbon-rich sediment into the Mackenzie Delta. (Photo: Charles Tarnocai/Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Humanity may have passed the “point of no return” in the climate crisis—even if everyone on the planet stopped emitting all greenhouse gases at this very moment, according to a study published Thursday.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed British publication Scientific Journals, alarmingly asserts that “the world is already past a point of no return for global warming” and that the only way to halt the catastrophic damage caused by greenhouse emissions is to extract “enormous amounts of carbon dioxide… from the atmosphere.” Continue reading

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Trump EPA Plan to Gut Emission Rules for Oil and Gas Industry Denounced as ‘Beyond Comprehension’

“If Trump is reelected and this rule sticks, it is probably the single most consequential near-term climate decision of his presidency.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-11-2020

Methane flare. Photo: GlobalChange.gov

In a move one green group said shows the Trump EPA’s approach is “manifestly inconsistent with the agency’s legal obligations” and with science, the agency is under fire for preparations to roll back methane rules for U.S. oil and gas producers.

Before Friday, the New York Times reported, the EPA is expected to unveil two new rules regarding methane, a greenhouse gas with 80 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide in the first two decades after emission. Continue reading

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Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study

Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-16-2019

Point Barrow, the northern-most location in the United States sits between the Chukchi Sea (west) and the Beaufort Sea on the east. (Photo: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team/Flickr)

As the Arctic enters an “unprecedented” state of warming, a new study shows that emissions of a potent greenhouse gas from thawing permafrost in the planet’s northernmost region may be 12 times higher than previously thought.

That’s according to a study published this month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The paper’s findings add even more weight to scientists’ urgent warnings about the mounting threats of permafrost thaw. Continue reading

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