July 18, 2005


Methane's Impacts On Climate Change May Be Twice Previous Estimates (SPX, Jul 19, 2005)

According to new calculations, the impacts of methane on climate warming may be double the standard amount attributed to the gas. The new interpretations reveal methane emissions may account for a third of the climate warming from well-mixed greenhouse gases between the 1750s and today. [...]

Controlling methane could reap a big bang for the buck. Another bonus of this perspective is that in order to manage greenhouse gases, policy decisions must focus on cutting emissions, because that's where humans have some control.

"If we control methane, which the U.S. is already starting to do, then we are likely to mitigate global warming more than one would have thought, so that's a very positive outcome," Shindell said. "Control of methane emissions turns out to be a more powerful lever to control global warming than would be anticipated."

Sources of methane include natural sources like wetlands, gas hydrates in the ocean floor, permafrost, termites, oceans, freshwater bodies, and non-wetland soils. Fossil fuels, cattle, landfills and rice paddies are the main human-related sources. Previous studies have shown that new rice harvesting techniques can significantly reduce methane emissions and increase yields.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 18, 2005 11:20 PM

Ooops! Sorry! Musta been the beans I had for dinner.

Posted by: obc at July 18, 2005 11:24 PM

Gotta match?

Posted by: ghostcat at July 18, 2005 11:28 PM

Ronald Reagan's right again.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 18, 2005 11:32 PM

Don't leave out volcano eruptions, which apparently dwarf other methane emission sources.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at July 18, 2005 11:53 PM

Give them cows Beano!

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 19, 2005 12:03 AM

98% of the green house gases is water vapor. Of the remaining 2%, most of the CO2 comes from volcanic emissions.

Posted by: Polly at July 19, 2005 1:11 AM

So if you are modeling our future climate, what number do you plug in for annual natural and anthropogenic methane emmisions? Try factoring in little tidbits like this: http://www9.sbs.com.au/theworldnews/region.php?id=115866®ion=2

No way am I buying into any policy predicated upon GCMs.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at July 19, 2005 1:20 AM

Oh- and my job requires that I occasionally fight fires. There are three wildland fires going within sight of my house right now, one of which has burned over 12,000 acres so far. You want to talk about greenhouse gas emmisions? We've got 'em.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at July 19, 2005 1:23 AM