It is actually making it worse:
"The time is now to stop building more fossil fuel construction," Shindell, who is part of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said on a conference call with reporters.
The press conference was arranged by NC WARN, a climate activism group that has opposed Duke Energy's expansion plans for years. Shindell keyed not just on carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas responsible for rising average temperatures, but on its less-covered cousin: Methane.
Methane is something like 60 times worse than carbon dioxide in trapping insolation, so it warrants much closer scrutiny than Co2 emissions. But its volatile nature makes that difficult, because it will escape into the atmosphere wherever it finds a weakness in its containment infrastructure. There are over 1.5 million active gas and oil wells in the United States alone, and each one suffers from fugitive emissions of Methane. Same goes with the pipelines, and monitoring thousands of miles of those is impossible, even if the industry tried. Which they don't. And this desperately needs a clarification:
Climate activists look to methane with some hope, though: It dissipates in the atmosphere much faster than carbon dioxide, so cutting back on emissions would have a quicker effect.
While Methane does have a half-life of 6-8 years, it does not "dissipate" at the end of that cycle. It converts into carbon dioxide. We definitely need to cut back on emissions, but even that short 6-8 years is too long. We're right on the brink (actually past the brink) of triggering massive releases of Methane previously trapped in clathrates, in both the ocean floor and Northern permafrost. There is very likely no coming back from that, but we still need to do what we can:
But natural gas is a cornerstone of Duke Energy's plans in North Carolina for the next several decades. The company, one of the country's largest electricity producers, is relying on it to retire coal plants and plans to pump the gas into North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The 600-mile line into West Virginia already has its needed state and federal permits, but it has been held up by a court decision the U.S. Supreme Court said last week it would hear.
NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren called on the Cooper Administration to reconsider a key pipeline permit, which has been appealed at the state level and use his bully pulpit to press the issue.
"Especially while that project is stalled by the federal court," Warren said. "We are in extraordinary times. We need governors to stretch out and take measures that would benefit all of the public."
The ACP is a mess all the way around, not the least of which are the environmental justice concerns. But it will also prop up the fracking industry for a few more decades, and that might just seal our fate.
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