Research

“Government misled public and parliament over shale gas carbon emissions” – new research

Paul Mobbs reportThe government misled parliament and the public over the climate change impacts of shale gas, according to new research. It suggests that ministers may even have breached their code of conduct by giving MPs inaccurate information.

The conclusions, by environmental investigator Paul Mobbs, centre on the government’s use of a report to portray shale gas as a bridge to a green, low carbon future.

The report on shale’s greenhouse gas emissions was commissioned by the then Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from David MacKay and Timothy Stone and published in 2013.

Professor MacKay, DECC’s chief scientific advisor, and Dr Stone, a senior ministerial advisor, said:

“With the right safeguards in place, the net effect on UK GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from shale gas production in the UK will be relatively small.”

But Paul Mobbs, in a paper launched today by the campaign group, Talk Fracking, said there could be “little faith in the accuracy” of MacKay and Stone’s findings because of problems in the data they selected and the analysis.

Mr Mobbs said:

“The problem for the MacKay -Stone review, and for the UK Government in general, is that the benefits claimed in the report cannot be supported when we look at the latest research on the emissions from shale oil and gas production.”

He said ministers at DECC, its successor department Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and at the Department for Environment used the report to “mislead members of Parliament and Parliamentary committees into accepting shale gas exploration”.

“In quoting the report, especially after the shortcomings of the report were repeated[ly] expressed by other bodies from early 2014 onwards, ministers have misled Parliament and arguably breached the Ministerial Code.

“No minister can quote its conclusions without demonstrably misleading MPs and the public as to their current state of the science relating to ‘fracking’ and climate change.”

Mr Mobbs added:

“It is not simply that more recent research has invalidated the report. At the time of its publication it was not possible to state the conclusions of that report with such certainty – and at no point did DECC ministers properly communicate those uncertainties when making their statements.”

Ministers including Michael Fallon, Andrea Leadsom and Amber Rudd have referred to MacKay and Stone in parliamentary answers to defend government policy.

Dame Vivienne Westwood

The MacKay and Stone findings were referred to in government guidance issued in January 2017 and by the Church of England in its briefing paper about shale gas and fracking in December 2016.

Today, Dame Vivienne West, accompanied by “a grim reaper” presented Mr Mobbs’ investigation to the Archbishop of Canterbury. She said:

“The MacKay-Stone report must now be considered wrong and fatally flawed. Furthermore, the evidence now suggests that shale gas and oil extraction could be considerably worse than coal in terms of its effect on climate change and global warming”.

A spokesperson for BEIS said :

“The Mackay-Stone report was peer-reviewed by experts outside of government. We regularly assess new evidence on shale gas and its implications.”

Moratorium and withdrawal of report

Mr Mobbs called today for a moratorium on fracking operations and the withdrawal of the MacKay and Stone report.

He also said there should be an immediate government review of the policy of unconventional gas and oil, taking into account all available research.

In addition, parliament must review the use of the MacKay-Stone report in recent decisions on oil and gas extraction policy, he said.

Data decisions

MacKay and Stone said they used data from US studies to estimate the potential fugitive emissions from shale gas in the UK and its potential impact on UK climate change objectives.

Mr Mobbs said:

“The result of MacKay and Stone’s decisions on their use of data is to improve the case for shale gas over other energy sources.”

He said they failed to represent the range of data available. They excluded particular reports which recorded high shale gas emissions but relied on another, over which there were concerns about sampling and equipment.

Mr Mobbs added:

“More critically, because they [MacKay and Stone] failed to address the uncertainties involved in producing the data, using different methodologies, the way they express their results tends to improve the case for shale gas relative to other fossil fuel sources.”

Mr Mobbs said MacKay and Stone based their estimates of emissions on what are called “bottom-up inventory studies”. These are studies which assess leaks from oil and gas operations by testing small parts of equipment in labs or on test rigs. Bottom up studies often record lower emissions than what are called “top-down” studies, which measure emissions in shale production areas.

He also criticised MacKay and Stone’s failure to consider the short-term impacts of methane. They looked at its global warming potential over 100 years, rather than 20 years. This gave a lower overall result because it excluded short-term effects.

MacKay and Stone used a very large figure for gas production, Mr Mobbs said, but their figures for fugitive emissions were based on lower well production data, artificially reducing the impact of shale gas.

Mr Mobbs concluded:

  • MacKay and Stone’s figures for emissions were “perhaps half, or less” what is being observed from actual shale gas and oil operations
  • Their figures for gas production were roughly twice that found in the US
  • Their results under-estimated the impact of shale gas production by a factor of four

Committee on Climate Change guidance

Last year, the Committee on Climate Change concluded that shale gas exploitation on a significant scale would not be compatible with UK carbon budgets unless three tests were met.

The third test was a reduction in consumption elsewhere in the economy to “make space” for shale gas production.

Mr Mobbs said:

“Given our currently available knowledge of the scale on emissions, we must be extremely sceptical of the Government’s ability to meet ‘test 3’.”

Assessment of government policy

Mr Mobbs called for “a full and transparent assessment” of Government’s policy, taking into account the latest available research.

“Until such a review takes place, UK policy on on-shore oil and gas will remain demonstrably flawed, and an arguable danger to human health and the local/global environment.”

Links

Whitehall’s fracking science failures by Paul Mobbs

Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Shale Gas Extraction and Use by Professor David MacKay and Dr Timothy Stone

Church of England briefing paper on shale gas and fracking

64 replies »

  1. I note the same old attack-the-messenger stuff (instead of facing the facts) from those intent on turning England into the dirty old man of Europe (for power at least).

    Bottom up figures basically means figures supplied by the O&G industry and usually supplied from tests done in ideal conditions then scaled to the ‘real world’. Boy does the industry squirm when it is asked to do actual continuous monitoring on location. It is invariably left to others who, predictably, are then accused of ‘they’re not from the industry so what do they know’. There are enough real world studies to back up Robbs’. I concur with his points.

    Ken’s argument about regs being tighter here is a joke. I could go around that loop again but I can’t be bothered.

    Saw a Tesla car down in our local supermarket car park yesterday. Nice. Tesla’s market cap has now passed Fords and GM’s. In the short time that I’ve been away from this frack-heads ego massaging club (these comment threads) California has been busy mastering energy storage and distributed power generation, Germany es entering the almost embarrassing territory of charging negative prices for some of energy over-supply and Scotland has been storming ahead with Green energy. [Edited by moderator]

  2. Given the potentially calamitous and far reaching consequences of the McKay/Stone report being flawed, surely the logical response is to double check the original data and its collection methods, the analysis, the methodology and even the peer review process. It needs to be done immediately, thoroughly, independently and openly. Isn’t this a move that should be wholeheartedly supported by everyone, whether pro or anti fracking, as the consequences of getting it wrong will affect us all through the effects of global warming, which is happening right now and has a 99%+ chance of adversely affecting every one of us in the short, medium and long term. How bizarre to find that the first reaction from many is to personally attack those highlighting the flaws, rather than looking to answer their claims. Do these people not have children and grandchildren? Do they not appreciate and enjoy their green and pleasant land?

    • Absolutely – I applaud you for addressing the issue at stake. However a hitch in what I think Paul Mobbs is referring to is that the report did not reveal the full picture. A study based on a carefully selected window of data may not be proven false in itself. It could however be shown that it was used in a way that misled the decision-makers.

  3. Same old arguments trotted out in an attempt to keep the Protectors excited. It may well do that, it doesn’t seem to take a great deal. However, it is not convincing the general public and it will not stop test fracking from being undertaken in the UK. More and more UK developments being authorised, (two for Igas today, probably another for Egdon shortly and Angus share price indicating something is imminent there.) The critical fracking factor now will be whether commercial quantities of gas can be found quickly. If they can, sorry, game over. If early attempts are not too successful, just means the antis will be occupied a little longer.

  4. Somewhat arrogant position to be taking isn’t it Martin? So you’re saying that whatever principles and evidence where presented for debate and decision-making in parliament they all get abandoned at the first sign of potential profits… that money, power and greed simply over-ride any other planning considerations and the rule of law.

    Tell, from your knowledge and experience, how many of of these newly authorised explorations are undertaking the requisite 12 months of groundwater monitoring (for methane) before obtaining Hydraulic Fracturing Consent, or is this inconvenient piece of EA guidance just being sidelined already… to quote from the rule book kindly provided by Ken :

    “You should commence baseline monitoring before you start activities on site to establish existing initial groundwater quality.
    The Petroleum Act 1998 requires that for high volume hydraulic fracturing (ie “associated hydraulic fracturing”) the level of methane in groundwater has, or will have, been monitored in the period of 12 months before the hydraulic fracturing begins. To obtain your Hydraulic Fracturing Consent, you will need to demonstrate to DECC that you have undertaken 12 months groundwater methane monitoring. This monitoring may be included in your Groundwater Monitoring Plan which you will submit to the Environment Agency as part of environmental permitting, although this not a requirement under EPR.”

    Anyway , its all coming out now (note passage on fracking near end):
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/conservatives-oil-bosses-party-donations-fossil-fuels-climate-change-ayman-asfari-petrofac-serious-a7751521.html

  5. Another misleading Public Relations piece by the anti-frackers. Note that while criticizing the Mackay Stone work, Mobbs relies on a study by Howarth that was long ago discredited by the scientific community for its numerous inaccuracies.

    His main argument, that we should rely on top down measurements of methane to detect fugitive emissions, is very difficult to accomplish because of the “background noise” from other emissions sources. The top down work that has been able to isolate oil and gas activities has shown that emissions from these sources are steady despite massive increases in production. What top down work has shown most notably is that the world has seen a spike in methane production but that has almost all come from equatorial zones and is attributed to expansion of agricultural activities and animal husbandry.

    It is deceptive to isolate the Mackay and Stone report from 2013 and claim that its conclusions are not valid. Not only is the top-down work not supportive of this thesis, but many other reputable scientific studies done in a bottoms-up fashion support the conclusions reached by Mackay and Stone. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that a mean rate of emissions centers around 2-3%. A NOAA report recently found leakage rates averaging 1.1% http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JD022697/abstract;jsessionid=6BA0EA007BDD8D03D6BBE08BD82B470B.f02t02%20

    An EDF report on emissions in the Barnett shale reported average rates of 1.2% – http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es506359c

    The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas inventory publicizes a whopping 38% decline in methane emissions in the US since 2005 – a period in which natural gas production has increased dramatically.

    Of course newer extraction and processing equipment is always being improved to lower leakage rates (as this helps profitability) and new technologies are constantly being deployed to detect leaks. So we can be fairly confident that newer developments will experience below average fugitive emissions.

    • Hi Rex

      Thanks for your comment.

      You state: The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas inventory publicizes a whopping 38% decline in methane emissions in the US since 2005.

      Do you have a reference for this?

      I found the 2017 report on the web, but their figures for methane don’t appear to match your claim:

      (Page ES7 of executive summary https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-02/documents/2017_executive_summary.pdf)

      You’ll see that methane emissions from Natural gas systems have actually increased since 2005, while overall methane emissions have fallen by around 4%, and by around 16% since 1990

      Page ES15 of the same document deals with the decline of methane since 1990 in Natural Gas systems:

      “Natural gas systems were the second largest anthropogenic source category of CH4 emissions in the United States in 2015 with 162.4 MMT CO2 Eq. of CH4 emitted into the atmosphere. Those emissions have decreased by 31.6 MMT CO2 Eq. (16.3 percent) since 1990. The decrease in CH4 emissions is largely due to the decrease in emissions from transmission, storage, and distribution. The decrease in transmission and storage emissions is largely due to reduced compressor station emissions (including emissions from compressors and fugitives). The decrease in distribution emissions is largely attributed to increased use of plastic piping, which has lower emissions than other pipe materials, and station upgrades at metering and regulating (M&R) stations”

      Tracking methane emissions can be difficult and controversial: https://psmag.com/environment/the-difficulty-and-importance-of-tracking-u-s-methane-emissions
      and https://drillordrop.com/2016/06/11/uk-link-to-alleged-under-reporting-of-fracking-methane-emissions/

      • No, thank you for your comment, Paul.

        The reason for the discrepancy which you cite is that your data is at the system level. The natural gas system data that you reference would be diluted by emissions from transmission, processing, and distribution. My comment was related specifically to methane emissions from production (or field operations as the EPA terms it). This was implied since our discussion had to do with methane emissions from production only – but I could have stated it more clearly to save you some work. I apologize for that!

        The statistic I cited came directly from the full EPA report (not the exec summary) here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-03/documents/us-ghg-inventory-2015-main-text.pdf

        If you would refer to table 3-44 on page 3-70 you will see that the EPA calculated that methane emissions from production declined from 75.5 mmt co2 eq. in 2005 to 47 mmt co2 eq in 2013, representing a drop of approximately 38 percent over the period.

        Now, I referenced that EPA report because it was used in the article I read. The data you cited is from the following year. In that year the EPA changed how they calculated methane emissions which had the effect of not only increasing emissions but also flattening out the decline. If you look at the same chart I referenced above in the GHG Inventory report for the year you cited, it shows relatively flat methane emissions from natural gas production over the last ten years. Of course that still is an impressive feat given the fact that gas withdrawals increased around 40% during that period.

        I agree that methane emission tracking can be difficult and controversial. This is a key reason why Mobbs’ “study” is nothing more than an activist propaganda piece. He tosses all kinds of bombs at the government, accusing them of lying, based on what? Essentially his claim is that the Howarth study should carry more weight – but that study is as flawed as they come. Again, the central tendency of studies vetted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change points to fugitive emission rates in the 2-3% range, far below the level implied by Howarth and the rest of the anti-frack die-hards.

    • Rex your first link is dated March 2015. Therefore the data you supply is sonewhat out of date.

      This data is also taken from the, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres and is dated April 2017

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016JD026070/full

      At the bottom of this link page, it gives Estimates of Methane Leakage Rates From Oil and Natural Gas Production

      The % leak rates all show higher readings than what you have put forward.

      • Rex, as you will note some of these average % leak rates are quite high.

        Barnett Shale leak rate 1.3 % – 1.9 % .

        One sampled area, has a leak rate up to 17.3%

      • Jack, the study you cite from April 2017 admits in its summary that the methodology used has no way to account for different sources of methane in the study area. The authors note that emissions could easily come from coal bed mines. There are other background sources too. This is why the top down method is not widely trusted for measuring specific sources.

        The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change points to a central tendency of 2-3% based on its vetting of multiple stuidies.

        Methodology is important. Mobbs assertion that the government was deceiving anyone is clearly nothing but smoke.

        • I agree Rex, there are a lot of, ifs , buts and maybes surrounding how these leaks occurred.

          BUT what has been made clear, is that these figures are leakage rates from Oil and natural Gas production.

          When you consider the scale of Oil and Gas production within the US , these % Methane leak numbers become a real concern.

          these high % Methane leaks are of extreme concern.

          • I agree Rex, there are a lot of, ifs , buts and maybes surrounding how these leaks occurred.

            BUT what has been made clear, is that these figures are leakage rates from Oil and natural Gas production.

            When you consider the scale of Oil and Gas production within the US , these % Methane leak numbers become a real concern.

            • No, Jack. You are absolutely incorrect. There is absolutely zero clarity that the top down figures isolate methane from oil and gas areas, that is the point and that is why the authors of the study cited a coal mine in the area as a possible cause.

            • Rex, the word used is ” possible ” that in no way implies that it is a certainty that the Methane leaks are due to previous Coal mining activities.

              Therefore the leaks ” could ” be as as a result of current Oil and Gas exploration in those areas.

              Either way when you take note of the 10s of thousands of wells drilled in the USA, with leaks of Methane up to 17%, thats an extremely worryingly, dangerous situation .

            • If you’re so worried about ghg emissions including methane, then focusing on gas extraction is clearly not where you should start. The real culprit on a global scale is transportation, followed by electricity generation, and then industrial operations broadly. If you aim to shut all that down then you should also tackle agriculture and hydro power well before going after gas production.

            • Yes Rex, you make some valid points regarding green house gases ..

              As we are all on here to debate the Oil and Gas industry and only speaking for myself, mainly focused on the effects of fracking in our densely populated country. The focus then will mainly be on the ascociated problems with this particular type of industry.

              That being said, I thank you and take note of the points you raise. There are indeed, many other things adding to the rise in green house gases. All of which need addressing with urgency.

  6. Not arrogant at all Philip. I deal in the realities not the fantasies fuelled by Giggle.

    If you raise your eyes you will see comments on other sites of individuals mopping up shares in companies with intentions to frack in UK, because that is their appraisal of the realities. Only today I noted a local to PNR making such comments, so, should I believe statements of the locals to PNR supporting the Protectors? Or someone who puts their money where their mouth is?

    As far as I can see you are a little behind the curve. Test fracking in UK is going to proceed. All the arguments you produce have long been examined and the situation has moved on. It is now a case of how successful will it be, not whether it should or will go ahead.

    • I see. So the EA guidelines are not part of this reality then? Whether obtained via ‘giggle’ or not. The whiff of lies and deceptions grow steadily.

  7. Meanwhile UKOG install their rig today. That is a reality. Same will happen shortly at several other sites across the country. Some for potential development of on shore oil, some for fracking for gas. That is a reality. Meanwhile I am sure you will continue using the SNP handbook on how to mobilise and magnify a grievance. I find it rather interesting because these sort of issues take a defined course, and there seems to be a wish to keep trying to clear the first fence when the rest of the field are disappearing out of sight.
    I will anticipate much print is being prepared to explore the progress of this issue when it is all settled, and a few journalists will have great fun because there is so much material for them to get their teeth into.

  8. Rex. I thought there might be something in your rebuttal until I read the reports myself. You obviously didn’t read all of Mobbs’ report , he goes well beyond the early Ingraffea study. That was just where this much needed ‘top down’ approach started – it clarified the concepts and the need for more studies of that kind. Ingraffea hasn’t been debunked just attacked and derided by the usual suspects – the charlatans and money men running the powerful oil and gas lobbies (now on both sides of the Atlantic). You have cherry picked your points well to make your case but sorry, it falls over in several areas. Won’t go into detail now but I should have guessed from your opening stock phrase “Another misleading Public Relations piece by the anti-frackers” that your prejudices were clear from the outset.

    Try this brand new study for size – it gives a very clear run down on its methodology: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016JD026070/full

    • Philip, The study you have cited admits in the abstract that it cannot attribute methane levels to oil and gas operations directly, “However, a substantial source of CH4 was found to contain little ethane (C2H6), possibly due to coalbed CH4 emitted either directly from coalmines or from wells drilled through coalbed layers.”

      But the obvious shortcomings in top down measurement are not a great worry, because a lot of very good bottom up work has been done. The PA Dept of Environment study showed a 12 percent decrease in methane emissions in the Marcellus from 2014 to 2012 despite a large increase in production. And a Drexel study showed that VOC background concentrations were likely to not be impacted at all from o&g operations. See these studies below:

      https://www.elementascience.org/articles/10.1525/elementa.182/

      http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21044&typeid=1

      “Lead researcher Paula Jaramillo: “We don’t think they’re using credible data and some of the assumptions they’re making are biased. And the comparison they make at the end, my biggest problem, is wrong.”

      You may not feel that Ingraffea has been discredited, but the vast majority of scientists feel otherwise. In fact, there have been some remarkably strong words for Ingraffea from a normally reserved group:

      “Lead researcher Paula Jaramillo: “We don’t think they’re using credible data and some of the assumptions they’re making are biased. And the comparison they make at the end, my biggest problem, is wrong.”

      World Watch Institute study, “Despite differences in methodology and coverage, all of the recent studies except Howarth et al. estimate that life-cycle emissions from natural gas-fired generation are significantly less than those from coal-fired generation on a per MMBtu basis.”

      2011 CERA Report: “The Howarth estimates assume that daily methane emissions throughout the flowback period actually exceed the wells’ IP at completion. This is a fundamental error, since the gas stream builds up slowly during flowback. Compounding this error is the assumption that all flowback methane is vented… Vented emissions of the magnitudes estimated by Howarth would be extremely dangerous and subject to ignition.”

      From Prof. Larry Cathes (also from Cornell): ““[Ingraffea’s and Howarth’s] analysis is seriously flawed in that they significantly overestimate the fugitive emissions associated with unconventional gas extraction…“[T]he assumptions used by Howarth et al. are inappropriate and…their data, which the authors themselves characterize as ‘limited’, do not support their conclusions.”

      From a US Dept. of Energy report: ““Howarth [and Ingraffea] found a large fraction of produced gas from unconventional wells never made it to end users, assumed that all of that gas was vented as methane, and thus concluded that the global warming impacts were huge. As the [Dept. of Energy] work explains, though, 62% of that gas isn’t lost at all – it’s ‘used to power equipment.’”

      From a 2011 Wood Mackenzie study: “Our analysis indicates that the Cornell study overestimated the average volume of natural gas vented during the completion and flowback stages by 60-65%. We conclude that the Cornell study overestimated the impact of emissionsduring well completions by up to 90%.”

      From the Global Warming Policy Foundation (I suppose one of those money grubbers to whom you refer?) ““Our analysis indicates that the Cornell study overestimated the average volume of natural gas vented during the completion and flowback stages by 60-65%. We conclude that the Cornell study overestimated the impact of emissionsduring well completions by up to 90%.”

      So Phillip, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts!

      • And the Mobbs report says, “Our report verifies that MacKay-Stone skewed findings by omitting figures in the Howarth study (2011) from their final calculations.”

        So, the Mobbs work tries to discredit Mackay’s work by relying on the fatally flawed Howarth report. And BTW, there is no valid “new study” that disproves the Mackay Stone work. .

        • You are not reporting these things accurately Rex. I can see you’ve had those points lined up – the cherry picked counter punches – at your finger tips, points that I would expect to see from a fossil fuel funded PR group. Is that your job? You quote from those with commercial fossil fuel interests from the CERA group to the political pressure/lobby group in the UK ‘The Global Warming Policy Foundation’ . The response and rebuttal to the Cathles critique is very clear (and easy to find) and some other other sources are so vaguely referenced I’m not sure where to look.

          Mobbs not only cites the 2014 update to the original Howarth report but the 2013 IPCC. Several more recent studies can be found from those, then there’s the one I pointed to which you make a trivial aside about, missing the overall importance. The original Howarth openly stated that further methodological developments are needed but far from being fatally flawed (your words) again and again the findings have proved remarkably sound. The 1.5 to 6% emissions range is as valid as ever and depends on the times when the readings are done (if you measuring at the drilling/peak production end of a well’s life you’re at a higher percentage – there’s a big peak at the start). The 2.5% mark is stated to be the crossover point where you’re looking at being more polluting than coal. During a period of boom or rapid expansion of drilling/fracking the emissions will be high for a few years at least.

          The report is right to point out some very misleading factors of the Mackay-Stone report – eg the GWP figures downplaying the climate impact by using a 100 year time scale (averaged). That leaves you with a 20 times CO2 (impact). Whereas you should use the 20 year figure where methane has over 80 times the impact of CO2. With the build up of the Northern Hemisphere methane at present we really don’t want to add any more CH4 to the veil that’s already there.

          The UK is abandoning it’s international climate agreements in this way.

          • LOL. “A trivial aside” No, Philip, demonstrating that the methodology behind the study is flawed would hardly be considered trivial in most circles! If you’re trying to measure something but you have to admit that your data cannot correct for confounding variables, this is hardly trivial. But if you are an anti-fracker with an axe to grind, you have to say this. So, I get it.

            From the recent Oxford study with respect to methane emissions: ” Methane is still just a sideshow, and relative to what the U.S. needs to do to fulfill its Paris commitments with regard to keeping the warming under 2°C, even a substantial upward revision of methane leakage is almost completely irrelevant. The warming due to steady methane emissions essentially stops increasing after just two decades, and is largely reversible once the leakage stops.”

            Mobbs bombastic claims only weaken his position. No one was trying to mislead anyone. As Paul Seaman has pointed out there are a lot of different ways to look at methane emissions and no one has a definite answer. I think the IPCC central tendency is probably the best estimate for now because it comes from multiple well vetted and at least somewhat independent sources. Methane is a sideshow and isn’t terribly important.

            • OK I can see the playbook you’re following now. It’s a typical counterstrike of the ff brigade to say ‘aha gotcha’ when margins of error or degrees of uncertainty are expressed – as they are in all scientific literature – to say scientists admit doubt or are uncertain of their own findings. To blow those clearly documented margins out of proportion is your very unscientific way of killing the debate. You’re avoiding the main points also.

            • “Methane is a sideshow and isn’t terribly important.” That’s a VERY telling piece of misinformation Rex. Priceless.

            • Thanks for the Oxford link Rex. You’ve just shot yourself in the foot, Would you like some plasters?

            • Sure, Phillip, whatever you say.

              On the other hand, the atmospheric physicist has this to say:

              “… Methane is still just a sideshow, and relative to what the U.S. needs to do to fulfill its Paris commitments with regard to keeping the warming under 2°C, even a substantial upward revision of methane leakage is almost completely irrelevant. The warming due to steady methane emissions essentially stops increasing after just two decades, and is largely reversible once the leakage stops.”

              Get it now?

            • Would it help if you got the right paper? Those words are nowhere to found on your reference … better reading glasses maybe? Now if you’d admitted to cherry picking something from the Energy in Depth site that would explain everything – i.e. about your sources.

            • Phillip, can you please provide the reference where I attributed that quote to the study whose link I supplied? Or are you simply making more stuff up? This, of course, is the key problem with anti-frackers. They are linked by a penchant for just saying things to help their story but they seem to forget that facts matter!

              No, the quote I took came from an article from Climate Central.

              It appears that you are the one who requires reading glasses!

            • Geez, what are you on? First you point to the Pierrehumbert et al paper , with a link (3 comments above) with the claim that it supports your misinformation rebuttal. It doesn’t, hence my ‘shooting in foot’ joke. Then you quote the guy as if to say I haven’t read it properly (giving no other source). I point out that its not in that paper. Sorry, no wiggle room there.

              I saw that statement you meant to refer to a couple of years ago, a lone voice, and likely candidate for you and your cherry picking kind. Methane is now regarded as such a serious issue that millions are being spent on specialised remote sensing units for the next generation of satellites. A new Dutch sensor on an EU satellite is to be launched this year and a dedicated high res EU unit is going up by 2020/21:
              https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/m/merlin

            • I’m sorry you’re having a tough time with comprehension, Phillip. Allow me to provide you with a direct quote from the paper which illustrates the point: “To achievea balance between sources and sinks of GHG in the very longterm, net emissions of cumulative pollutants such as CO2needto be reduced to zero, whereas emissions of SLCPs simply needto be stabilized.”

              Get it now?

            • I got it already Rex. You used a quote attempting to associate it with a peer reviewed paper hoping no-one would notice that it wasn’t. How many times have you tried that trick?

              Now comes the fancy footwork. I expect you’ll come up with another Daily Mail quote next. Lol

            • Phillip [edited by moderator] I never provided a quote and implied it came from a peer reviewed paper. [Edited by moderator]

            • Yes, and anyone can see you desperately sling untruths in an effort to divert attention from the fact that you’ve lost the debate. LOL

  9. I personally think the only reason we are being allowed to know the truth is because they are hoping they have overcome the climate change problems by introducing Carbon capture technology, technology that has not been proven and has failed everywhere else it has been tried. Lets face it even if it works it should be being used as a means to cure the past problems and excesses not to mitigate continuing with disastrous policies.

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