Arctic emergency?

I wrote a post a while ago that included a discussion of the risks of rapid methane emission in the Arctic. The general view was probably quite well represented by Michael Tobis’s comment

I think the prevailing opinion remains that it is a very important threat in the long run, but that there is no realistic mechanism proposed for an abrupt release in the space of a few decades or a century.

Since then, however, there appears to be more and more discussion of methane release in the Arctic. There’s a recent post by Jason Box called Is the climate dragon awakening? This post highlights that there is evidence that methane is reaching ocean surface, rather then being converted into the less greenhouse CO2 before getting to the surface. There’s also the recent discoveries of a few craters in Siberia. It’s thought that these are caused by an accumulation of methane that eventually bursts to the surface through the thawing permafrost.

However, my understanding is that even though there’s been more discussion of Arctic methane release, the evidence for an abrupt release of methane in the next decades or century is still low. I also saw some tweets from Gavin Schmidt that seemed to confirm this general view. Having said that, that doesn’t mean that what’s happening in the Arctic isn’t cause for some concern. I’ll end this post with an interesting video that I watched this morning. It’s a little long, but is divided into 5 chapters. Although it does cover the abrupt release of methane, the more robust results are that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe and could warm by between 6 and 16 degrees by 2100, if we follow a high-emission pathway. The permafrost is already thawing, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and this feedback could increase atmospheric concentrations by between 50 and 250 ppm by 2100, even without any abrupt release of methane. Additionally, that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe will change atmospheric temperature gradients and will have to influence global weather patterns.

So, even though there may not have to worry about some kind of catastrophic Arctic event, that doesn’t mean that what’s happen in the Arctic isn’t cause for concern. I know I try not to discuss policy too much on this blog, but I would argue that a rapid warming of the Arctic that will clearly influence weather patterns elsewhere on the globe – in ways that may be hard to predict – is something that we should be avoiding if we can. I don’t know how else to do this other than to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations (or maybe, more realistically, prevent them from reaching levels much higher than today). Maybe we can find some way to do this without reducing our use of fossil fuels, but an obvious way would be to focus on finding ways to provide energy that doesn’t increase atmospheric CO2 levels to the point where changes to the Arctic are so substantial that the influences will be felt across the globe.

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62 Responses to Arctic emergency?

  1. Vinny Burgoo says:

    That report of methane bubbles reaching the surface was in a press release and wan’t supported by the scientist’s blogpost that it cited. In another blogpost, however, a scientist not involved in that portion of the research said she was asked to look over the bow and see if bubbles were reaching the surface. She did and they were and she seems to have assumed they were methane. Perhaps they were methane; perhaps they weren’t. Best wait for a proper report. (As I understand it, the shipboard scientists don’t have access to the Web, only to occasional e-mail, so wouldn’t be in a position to correct any misconceptions.)

    As for the craters, isn’t it a bit early to worry about those, too? Could be they not just be pingos that ruptured in the ordinary way?

  2. Vinny,
    I don’t much about the bubbles other than there is a suggestion that methane is reaching the surface. The dragon breaths in the figures in Jason Box’s post might be consistent with that but may suggest that it’s not that new.

    Overall, the conclusion I was trying to draw was that even though there has been more recent discussion of Arctic methane, there’s no real reason to suddenly change that there is low confidence of something abrupt happening this century (of course, that doesn’t mean that it won’t, just that we don’t really have strong evidence to suggest that it will).

    I don’t think we need to argue for the possibility of an abrupt event to be concerned about changes in the Arctic. Even the more gradual changes are – in my view – something to be concerned about and, if we can, something to avoid.

  3. catweazle666 says:

    “between 50 and 250 ppm by 2100,”

    I think you’ll find that atmospheric methane concentration is measured in parts per billion, not parts per million.

    But hey, what’s an error of three orders of magnitude to a climate McScientist?

  4. Indeed, methane concentrations are measured in ppb, but the video is referring to increased CO2 concentrations due to release of Arctic carbon. At about 11:54 in the video.

  5. Marco says:

    You’d think that someone who knows so well methane concentrations are measured in ppb would also know that current atmosphere concentrations are already close to 2000 ppb (=,2 ppm).

    In other words, if ATTP had used ppb, he’d be a factor 40 to 8 too low already for the *current* concentrations.

    Ah well, probably another driveby by catweazle666

  6. AnOilMan says:

    Good article Anders. 8:27 “Hot dry conditions in the US are caused by a reduction in arctic snow cover” Canada has been flooding while at the same time suffering from a serious reduction in rain fall. (Oh look, the Canadian Conservative government has starting using a non-standard start point for data. Conservatives are such nice people.)

    Here’s what the Jet Stream is causing in North America. We have extreme heat shoved up to the Northwest Territories, and cold out east.

    I wonder if this will affect what we used to understand as ENSO. How can you have El Nino and whacky Jet Streams.

    Hawaii is expecting 2 hurricanes in 2 days. Although the media is blowing the danger out of proportion, it is extremely unusual. They go years and years between hurricanes.

    Shell fish industries in Canada are seeing a massive die off. Arctic pingos are also melting.

  7. Old Chinese proverb say, “anyone who talks about Climate Dragon is probably talking b*ll*cks”. Or Sleeping Giant.


    I’m also pretty unhappy with a post that starts “In my professional opinion as a climatologist with more than 70 externally reviewed scientific publications, after 12 years of university education focused on atmospheric and oceanic science, and followed by 10 years of university lecturing on micro and mesoscale meteorology theory and instrumentation…”

    Aie! Then he continues with Peter Wadhams! Peter “AMEG Wadhams.


    > isn’t cause for concern

    Yup. But you won’t grab the headlines talking like that.

  8. Marco says:

    Uhm, William, maybe I am missing something, but he seems to only mention Wadhams also gave a presentation, but states his take home message was from Bruhwiler: “My take home from the session was well paraphrased by Bruhwiler, citing a sparse observational network, concluding ‘we just can’t say much yet’. That was then…”

  9. Does that help? Jumping from “we just can’t say much yet” (no headline, no-one pays any attention) to “Is the climate dragon awakening?” is a massive and not permissible leap.

    (I was assuming that Wadhams said his usual, and having another look I think he did; what Box briefly describes fits rather well. So, not impressed).

  10. Corey says:

    Robert Scribbler has been discussing methane releases on his blog recently, with a particular focus on the massive boreal fires in Siberia and the Northwest Territories. He clearly (but respectfully) disagrees with Gavin Schmidt about the shorter-term implications, but this may not be surprising given his (former?) career as a threat analyst (if that’s the correst term). I enjoy his articles and appreciate the different perspective.

    Vinny, my understanding is that the bottom of the firt Yamal crater showed methane readings of nearly 10%, which likely would not be the case for a pingo collapse.

  11. William,
    Yes, I’m not a huge fan of introducing oneself with one’s credentials, however impressive they may be.

    I guess my conclusion was that none of this really matters since even what we’re more confident about happening in the next century is sufficiently concerning (in my opinion) that we should be aiming to avoid the risk.

    Thanks. I think I had read something about the methane readings, but had forgotten where. I also enjoy Robert’s articles. He does seem to come at it from a different angle and maybe his backgroun (which I was unaware of) may explain that.

    I must admit that I’ve often thought that this is essentially a risk analysis issue, but have never really seen a proper risk assessment (or at least, not one that I’ve understood to be one).

  12. DocMartyn says:

    What is the 14C age of the methane released from the warmed permafrost?

  13. Marco says:

    William, sorry no, that doesn’t help. I think Box made the jump himself after seeing the new data. Whether Wadhams’ talk pushed him in that direction is not clear at all.

  14. DocMartyn,
    I don’t know, but all I can find is this abstract that refers to it as 14C depleted.

  15. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Corey: Ah well, I’m no pingo pundit.

    Or methane maven, for that matter. I think the surface bubbles blog at Swerus said the ship was in shallow water when they were spotted. If so, would it be so unusual for methane bubbles to reach the surface? And wouldn’t it be more likely to be new methane rather than the dreaded fossilised hydrates?

  16. Corey says:


    Might be good to ask those questions in this thread at Robert Scribbler’s blog. Robert describes it as likely being methane hydrates. I certainly could not offer an educated opinion.

  17. All these releases are governed more-or-less by an Arrhenius activation energy that goes like exp(-E/kT). So unless E is much bigger for methane clathrate than for say CO2 in water, don’t expect that the vaporization curve will just blow up.

    In other words, the people that are not falling for the semi-hysteria surrounding this topic are the ones that actually know some physics, or chemistry, or material science. As for myself, I spent years doing experimental work on growing semiconductors from the vapor phase, so that Arrhenius rate laws are in my blood.

    So if something major does happen, it will have to be some positive feedback behavior whereby the rather weak Arrhenius activation becomes self-sustaining and starts to feed off itself. If I was say vaporizing Arsenic to grow GaAs and the flux started increasing more rapidly than the vapor pressure curves would predict due to some sort of temperature feedback, of course this would make it harder to control.

    The bottom-line is that I would have to be shown a scenario whereby the activation energy route is bypassed by some mechanism.

  18. Steve Bloom says:

    If one tracks the arc of our understanding, over the last ten years or so, of the behavior of ice sheets/glaciers, permafrost and (to a lesser degree) sea ice, it’s hard not to be deeply worried by this stuff. Remember that the climate system is capable of a repeat of this. Yes, the supply of yedoma now is less than then, but there is much larger supply of shallow permafrost and methane hydrate deposits.

    That we haven’t as a species pressed the panic button already is a tribute to our ability to normalize processes occurring on time scales greater than a few years, probably combined with a collective inability to grasp the nature of events outside of contemporary human experience. From a risk management standpoint, we can’t afford *any* new PETM-like event. Instead we push our luck.

  19. Steve Bloom says:

    TBC and responding to Web, I’m basically convinced by that argument, i.e. it seems as if a fast methane hydrate release directly triggered by increasing temps isn’t a risk. The key point is that if it isn’t quite fast not much of the methane gets into the atmosphere. OTOH the yedoma could, and in a PETM-like self-sustaining release I expect would, provide the needed boost.

  20. We release about 30 mt of methane from the Arctic now, each year, probably about 100 mt of CO2.

    Arctic researchers note that this emission is likely to equal 10% of the human emission by 2100 if all human emissions are rapidly halted over the next few decades.Under BAU, the Arctic emission is expected to be 35% of the total human emission.

    See survey of 41 Arctic researchers here:

    Click to access 1562_Schuur_Abbott_2011.pdf

    The problem with the Arctic emission is that once it gets started, there’s very little to stop it. There are gigatons and gigatons of carbon in the permafrost. So at a certain point, it hits a kind of runaway.

    Under the rapid mitigation scenario, we can probably deal with a 1.3 gt carbon emission from the Arctic each year, so long as it isn’t primarily methane. If we are looking at 4 or 5 or six gt per year, then we’re looking at equivalent to 20th Century level human emissions continuing as a feedback from the Arctic indefinitely. This is a huge problem.

    RE my threat analysis approach… I look at risk, not perfect knowledge. There is quite a lot of risk with regards to the Arctic. And more than enough to be very concerned.

  21. In other words, you don’t need one big release to have a problem. You just need to keep burning fossil fuels…

  22. Robert,
    Thanks for the comment. What you said in your second comment is what I took from the video – we don’t need evidence for an abrupt release in the next few decades to be concerned.

  23. Cheers, ATTP! That’s what I took from the video as well. Responding to some of the comments above with additional info, which I find is always helpful.

    RE the tundra holes. Evidence of smaller scale release mechanism that may work on much larger scales. I don’t want to find out.

  24. John says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27.

  25. Andrew Dodds says:

    WHT –

    That equation may hold for clathrates, where the decomposition is a physical process probably governed by activation energies, but for permafrost, methane release is down to decomposition. By definition, decomposition is driven by biology and will therefore release heat – in the manner of a compost heap which can in extreme cases catch fire.

    So.. clathrate gun – not in our lifetimes, permafrost.. – how lucky do you feel?

    Biggest problem is the lack of a paleo analog. Even episodes like the PETM seem to have taken 1000s of years, because the driving forcings were not moving that quickly. So having this much permafrost in what is suddenly becoming non-permafrost zones is unprecedented in the Phanerozoic..

  26. izen says:

    The timing of this video report on the Arctic is unfortunate.

    Rejectionists have an easy counter in calling this alarmism when ice area, extent and volume are all showing a ‘recovery’ to a level above the long term trend.

  27. Steve Bloom says:

    Andrew, read the DeConto et al. (2012) paper linked farther up. There has been more permafrost, in Antarctica during the Paleogene. But while we have somewhat less of that (yedoma specifically), we have a lot more shallow methane hydrate that could be mobilized by a fast enough loss of the yedoma, perhaps mediated by fire. This is the mechanism that Michael Tobis seems unwilling to face.

  28. victorpetri says:

    “but I would argue that a rapid warming of the Arctic that will clearly influence weather patterns elsewhere on the globe – in ways that may be hard to predict – is something that we should be avoiding if we can. I don’t know how else to do this other than to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations ”

    Well there are alternatives, Myrhvold’s SO2 hoses being one
    And there are many other concepts.
    Zero CO2 is such an unpragmatic solution.

  29. Marco says:


    Click to access 20Reasons.pdf

    Most importantly, geoengineering solves one environmental problem by introducing a new one (SO2 aerosols are not inert in many ways) – one that may be much worse than the one we try to solve. It also does not stop ocean acidification.

  30. victorpetri says:

    And we probably will make many mistakes, and need to make countless adjustments, and solve several other problems as well. But this is what we do with everything, trial and error our way through whilst constantly adjusting and adapting.
    It is probably also clear how much problems a zero CO2 emission economy would create.

    In the end, I have no doubt that we will be trying geo engineering, simply because there will not be a global geopolitcal consensus on reducing CO2 output to zero any time soon.

  31. victorpetri says:

    But my comment was directed at ATTP’s comment that he didn’t “know how else to do this (red. reduce the rapid warming of the arctic) other than to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations ”, whilst there are several other theoretical options known.

  32. AnOilMan says:

    victorpetri: While I agree zero CO2 may be unattainable, offering flawed incomplete solutions without any idea if they’d work is not viable at all. That so called ‘solution’ is a comfortable planet temperature with dead dead oceans, war, and billions of people starving to death. (I’m not giving it a thumbs up.)

    Frankly we are geoengineering the planet right now, and we have no clue as to what will happen or when. All we know is soonish, and very bad. Would you buy a car if the engineers gave you that kind of certitude? No. That would be insensible.

    Carbon Engineering is proposing extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere;

    That would put our ecosystems back where they belong, sans, damage already done. The cost is somewhere around $100 a ton. Not cheap.

  33. Andrew Dodds says:

    Steve Bloom –

    Yes.. I think that the main difference is that whilst orbital forcing will change things over a period of 1000s of years, we have managed to put a large area of permafrost into non-permafrost climate zones in a period of decades. It’s the rate that makes the difference.

    Still, at least we are doing the experiment. Have to find out somehow.

  34. Marco says:

    Victor, there’s a difference between theoretical options and viable options.

    Also, who will be doing the geoengineering? Many countries will not benefit from it, or may even experience considerable negative side-effects. They would have to agree with the solution while at the same time accept the negative consequences. They could just as easily argue that the other countries should just reduce their CO2 emissions rather than put the burden solely on their shoulders.

  35. afeman says:

    I found this helped sharpen the senses wrt geoengineering (forgot who linked originally, maybe Steve Bloom):

  36. AnOilMan says:

    Its like we’re in a car headed for a cliff, and the denial community is arguing over who gets the front seat.

    Me first!

  37. Andrew Dodds says:

    AnOilMan.. But it’s OK, because it’s foggy and we don’t know where the cliff edge is. Party on!

  38. Steve Bloom says:

    Andrew, while the Milankovitch-driven warming process that affected Antarctica prior to the PETM (not forgetting that permafrost in those quantities wouldn’t have been present unless CO2 levels had dropped from those seen during the Cretaceous hothouse) would have been slow, I suspect that the loss itself was mediated by fire and so was not at all slow.

    I can’t find a speck of science to back that up, although probably it’s not a very amazing surmise, but I notice that there’s an interesting new proxy that may serve to clarify things. Plus, as you observe, the background rate of warming is far greater now, which seems like it will enhance fire vulnerability.

  39. Steve Bloom says:

    Not me, afeman. I don’t actively monitor discussion of geoengineering, in part because it’s too depressing.

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  41. victorpetri says:

    To take your car metaphore,
    The car was not theorized on for ages, and then the perfect car was build.
    The first cars were horrible deathtraps, safety belts thought as a bad idea, you would be better off getting catapulted out of the vehicle. However, improvements were made continuously, now the Tesla S is a pretty awesome car.
    Point made; people lack omni scientias, we are fundamentally incapable of predicting all outcomes of our actions. What we are good at, however, is adapting.
    That is not to say we should not try and think things through, but in the end you have to trial and error our way through.

    You must acknowledge this is a possible way out of this global warming mess.

  42. victorpetri,

    You must acknowledge this is a possible way out of this global warming mess.

    But that argument could apply to almost anything. We might suddenly discover a new way to generate energy. We may discover an easy way to store energy. We may also discover a very cheap way to extract fossil fuels that are currently unaccessible (a rather concerning possibility). There are an awful lot of possiblities. However, as a technologically advanced society, surely we should be aiming to minimise how much we rely on something unexpected, but beneficial, suddenly appearing?

  43. victorpetri says:

    It all depends on how costly this minimizing is to society, of course.

    To predict with near certainty catastrophe in the future, and not predict positive developments in the future, has been default in our species thinking of the future, it’s why doomsday thinking has been the norm for over 2 millennia.

  44. victorpetri,

    To predict with near certainty catastrophe in the future

    Who’s done that? Avoiding the risk of possible future problems is not the same as predicting, with near certainty, catastrophe. I would argue that we have also, in the past, made difficult decisions based on avoiding possible problems in the future. That, to me, is one of the advantages of being an educated, technologically advanced society. We can make decisions based on a risk analysis of what different future pathways hold.

  45. > What we are good at, however, is adapting.

    Exactly. Since we grew a third eye, there’s no need to mitigate car casualties with a seat-belt policy.

    The seatbelt story might not be the best analogy to argue for adaptation.

  46. > doomsday thinking has been the norm for over 2 millennia.

    Wishful thinking is older than that.

    Victor is peddling, yet again.

  47. victorpetri says:

    Don’t understand, seatbelts were an adaptation in an ongoing effort to improve cars and car safety.
    I am not thinking wishfully, I just don’t understand how you can extrapolate problems into the future, but ridicule people who extrapolate solutions into the future.

  48. victorpetri,
    I have a feeling that maybe your definition of adaptation and that of others are somewhat different. My understanding of adaptation is that one doesn’t act to reduce the risk of something happening in the future, one simply adapts to that new future once it happens. Mitigation would be doing something now to avoid something happening in the future. Many would argue that seatbelts are effectively a mitigation strategy. One recognises the risks associated with being thrown through the windshield at 70 miles per hour and then suddenly stopping, by preventing oneself from being thrown through the windshield and by stopping slightly more gradually than one would if one suddenly hit a solid object at 70 miles per hour. Adaptation would be adapting to being thrown through the windshield at 70 miles per hour.

  49. victorpetri says:

    When I suggest to adapt to global warming, I indeed, do not mean, taking out your flip flops and going to the beach more often, I mean to tackle it along the way.
    Thanks for clarifying.

  50. catweazle666 says:

    We may also discover a very cheap way to extract fossil fuels that are currently unaccessible (a rather concerning possibility).

    Given that current progress in extraction technology has driven US natural gas prices down by around two thirds, is on course to make the US self-sufficient in petroleum products in a very few years and that the use of this technology is expanding globally, I believe we just have.

  51. catweazle666,
    I’m not sure that fracking qualifies as very cheap. It’s my understanding that the resulting drop in natural gas prices has not necessarily helped in terms of making it economically viable.

  52. > seatbelts were an adaptation in an ongoing effort to improve cars and car safety.

    Some may consider seatbelt policy as the epitome of mitigation, for it reduces (i.e. mitigate) car accidents involving personal injury and death due to projections. An adaptation policy would be to let the projections happen, and then do something about it. One could argue that instead of seat belts, we enforce policies to develop better cranial surgery.

    I don’t always adapt, but when I do, it’s always post hoc:

    Organisms face a succession of environmental challenges as they grow and develop and are equipped with an adaptive plasticity as the phenotype of traits develop in response to the imposed conditions. The developmental norm of reaction for any given trait is essential to the correction of adaptation as it affords a kind of biological insurance or resilience to varying environments.

  53. > When I suggest to adapt to global warming, I indeed, do not mean, taking out your flip flops and going to the beach more often, I mean to tackle it along the way.

    Depending on that “tackling along the way” means, that also applies to mitigation.

    Mitigation usually entails we target the source of the problem, while adaptation we target its consequences. Mitigation policies target CO2 emissions. Adaptation policies target the consequences of C02 emissions.


    In other words,”let’s adapt” requires a level 4 argument:

    To work properly, you also need at least one line from level 2-3, maybe both.

  54. Seatbelts represent adaptation to number of accidents and mitigation of injuries.

  55. Pekka,
    Well, yes, that’s a fair assessment. No analogy is perfect though 🙂

  56. anoilman says:

    victorpetri: Your first suggestion was a placebo. It may make you feel good, but it won’t cure anything.

    We are currently geoengineering the planet with disastrous effects without any sort of plan, and have no clue as to what the final consequences will be. All data analysis indicates really really bad things are coming. Much of the real damage is irreversible, data on ecosystem collapse indicates that as well.

    Yet we can solve this problem immediately, and now, but choose not to. The current state of geo-engineering is airy fairy imagineering and/or hideously expensive.

    Our current behavior is that of a drug addict. To that end, I leave you with this music video.

    (For kicks, you could look up her cause of death.)

  57. anoilman says:

    catweazle666: “Natural gas” is a bad word in oil and gas. Its expensive and dirty.

    Currently oil companies are depleting the low cost reserves, the wells that were cheap cheap to drill in the first place. Higher cost wells are of course capped right now. The writing is on the wall for this. Prices are going up.

    The long term impacts of Fracking are unknown. EPA has measured chemical migration into the water table. Haliburton has even developed food grade fracking fluid.

    We still haven’t figured out how to cap a well. (Pouring concrete down a hole works for a time… then the concrete breaks down. At least according to current data.)

    Fracked natural gas currently has a carbon footprint much larger than coal. Ingraffea’s work on this was disturbing, but measurements from field indicate the problem is far far worse. The only bright spot is that the US EPA is working with the industry on green completions for fracking. (They plan to flare a substantial percentage of the methane.) At this rate, the carbon footprint for natural gas will eventually be in line with coal.

    It may be possible to get to deeper cleaner conventional oil, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    In the mean time Bon Appetite, and look out for the radiation in your drinking water;

  58. victorpetri says:

    You cannot possibly know the costs of oil would go up. I believe they won’t, the market will determine if they will. It’s a constant race of technology vs the physical distribution of it, one would be silly to assume to be able to predict it. Historically, commodities have a tendency to cheapen over time. I have written my thoughts on this in a blog:

    How can science differ so much, and I obtained data saying shale gas containing much fewer CO2 emissions?
    Going to zero CO2 emissions would be fairy imagineering and ridiculously expensive.

    Cool link about the fracking fluid drinking, thanks.

  59. anoilman says:

    Victor, just because you haven’t researched something, doesn’t mean others haven’t.

    I have contacts through out the industry, who are parroting what I quoted here.

    The science doesn’t differ here. The reason you are using entertaining numbers for fracking is that a lot of people use conventional fracking numbers from decades ago. (That was a vertical well, with a single frack. They are unrelated to the hotly contested methods used today.)

    Furthermore, many people like to ignore leaky pipes and other end to end issues (like, we burn 8% in the LNG process). Ingraffea’s initial numbers of leaky natural gas pipes were far lower than what is now being (repeatedly) measured in field. He said 7% meanwhile multiple independent studies have come back with, 10%, 11%, and 17%.

    And seriously, if my facts are wrong, why is the industry and EPA working on green completions? Flaring will be very unpopular…You can see an industry spokesman talk about this in “Years Of Living Dangerously”. Or you could track down many of the papers on all this;

    For my house to drop off grid and use batteries would cost $0.30 per kwh. That’s not going to break the bank. I live in cold Canada far from the sun. The only reason I haven’t dropped off grid is that I’d have to get rid of some large old Spruces out front. I’m kind of waiting for them to die. I am motivated though; (This is another useful conservative source for you.)

    The current cost for utility grade batteries is $0.30 -$0.10 per kwh. The expectation is that with volume costs will hit $0.05 per kwh of use. Again, none of this will break the bank. In fact many many giga-watts of utility grade batteries are in use in the USA, now, today. Do you need sources for that fact?

  60. victorpetri says:

    Household energy use is a mere fraction of total energy use. Energy generation only a part of fossil fuel use.
    Stop with the belittling assumptions of what I am. Why do you assume you need to send me a conservative source? I am an atheist and consider myself very progressive. Why do you assume I haven’t researched something? I am a Msc geophysicist employed in the oil industry. Why do you think I need convincing of the possibilities of solar? 40% of my stockportfolio are solar companies.

    Shale gas is and will be a major contributor to fossil fuel production, no doubt. I am aware of doubts, malinvestments and differing opinions, which I think is common along the development on any new technology. (“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943, p. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson 1977)
    And I have read research that indicated shale gas to be more CO2 friendly than coal, and am genuinely surprised how easy it can be to get contradictory answers on the same questions.

  61. anoilman says:

    Well Victor, your personal beliefs aside, the industry disagrees with you. The industry is researching solutions to the problems I’ve outlined. This is because the industry knows these are problems. If you look at that EDF link, you’ll note that they have 15 more papers scheduled to deal with the various sources of natural gas leaks in field. If you look deeper into this, these papers are likely the first analyses being used to define new EPA regulations.

    Here’s Howarth\Ingraffea’s original paper;

    Click to access Howarth2011.pdf

    So far all the independent studies are coming back with measurements many times larger than what Howarth/Ingraffea claimed;

    Most of the industry outcry over Howarth/Ingraffea was dealing with consumption. Coal isn’t pumped to your house, so they reasoned that natural gas pumped to your house should be left out of any comparisons.

    I have a patent for measuring trace chemicals in natural gas. I’m involved all over the industry.

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