Senate Restores Obama Era Methane Regulations Using Congressional Review Act

Senate Restores Obama Era Methane Regulations Using Congressional Review Act

Using a rare procedure that allows Congress to reverse rules made late in a President’s term, the Senate has approved a bill restoring methane rules that were previously rolled back by President Trump. The old rules targeted methane leaks from new wells and pipelines and reduced a huge percentage of methane emissions.

Why This Matters: The Trump administration’s rollbacks cost the U.S. much-needed time to cut its carbon emissions.

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Gas Flaring Wastes Energy and Pollutes the Air – Why is it Still Happening? click button

Gas Flaring Wastes Energy and Pollutes the Air – Why is it Still Happening?

Gas flaring was responsible for Texas’s recent increase in oil refinery pollution, but it’s hardly a new problem. We’re less than a decade away from the UN’s goal of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, but refineries still flare 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, releasing 400 million tons of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

Why This Matters: Companies have historically practiced gas flaring as a convenient and inexpensive way to “dispose of ” gas that was extracted alongside oil, as opposed to storing paying to store it.

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Refineries Belch Tons of Pollution During Texas Blackout click button

Refineries Belch Tons of Pollution During Texas Blackout

Despite over four million Texans losing power during the recent deep freeze, oil refineries released an increased amount of pollution into the air. In a state that leads the nation in both power production and carbon emissions, experts say that failure to winterize power infrastructure resulted in harmful releases of toxic air pollution. 

Why This Matters: Texas is the nation’s leading power producer, and to achieve this, the state has heavily deregulated not only its power grid but the fossil fuel industry as well.

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ExxonMobil Makes New Carbon Reduction Commitment That Experts Call “Underwhelming”

ExxonMobil Makes New Carbon Reduction Commitment That Experts Call “Underwhelming”

With investors who hold hundreds of millions in ExxonMobil stock pressuring it to improve its performance on climate change and invest more in clean energy, the Company announced a new five-year plan today. According to Axios, experts said it’s not clear how much actual emissions might fall under the new plan.

Why This Matters:  Weak sauce from a weak company.  The ExxonMobil plan consists of only a few half measures — it falls far short of the industry standard set by ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum, BP, and Shell, which have all pledged to have “net zero” emissions in the 2050 time frame. 

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US Exported Natural Gas Could Worsen Climate Change

US Exported Natural Gas Could Worsen Climate Change

While natural gas has been touted as a solution to the world’s fossil fuel problem, new analysis by NRDC shows that the U.S’ exporting of liquified natural gas (LNG) will only worsen global warming. When looking at the full life cycle emissions of different energy sources, U.S. LNG led to higher emissions than regional sources of LNG, pipeline gas, solar or wind power, and led only to slightly lower emissions than the use of coal. 

Why this Matters:  It seems increasingly clear that new natural gas infrastructure is controversial. Cities are taking action to ban natural gas from new buildings, and chefs are advertising the utility of electric stoves, but more must be done.

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62 Oil and Gas Companies Pledge to Reduce Methane, U.S. Companies Turn the Other Way

62 Oil and Gas Companies Pledge to Reduce Methane, U.S. Companies Turn the Other Way

This week, following a U.N. report showing that methane levels in the atmosphere are at an all-time high, more than 60 oil and gas companies joined a new voluntary agreement to report and reduce their emissions. The companies making the pledge represent 30% of global oil and gas operations, but none of them were American.

Why This Matters: According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global oil and gas industry produced 82 gigatons of methane in 2019 alone.

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