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Running on Fumes: Can Methane Save the Planet?


Methane Production


In the interest of greenwashed “scientific” accuracy, (and we use the term loosely) let us first stand corrected, concerning our statement in a previous blog that daily glacial methane emissions are equivalent to 136,000 cow farts. 

According to the brilliant minds at Science Daily, and one of those ubiquitous yet anonymous “recent studies” cited as the dubious source, the precise unit of methane emission measurement, in this case, is actually “cow belches”. 

Allegedly 41 tons of methane is emitted daily by glacial volcanoes, equivalent to 136,000 “belching cows”, and more than all European volcanoes combined. 

Counting cow burps rather than incidents of voluminous bovine flatulence certainly makes sense, and must be a relief for the dedicated greensters out there taking field samples of cattle-produced methane directly from the source, considering which end the methane sampling tube must be inserted 136,000 times in order to inflate that 41 metric ton gas bag. 

Of course, our humorous process described above most likely isn’t the method used to arrive at the latest alarmist numbers, which begs the question, just  how do the greenies come up with this stuff? 

We’re not the only ones to question whether or not current climate models accepted as “everyone knows” are legitimate or not. 

glacial volcano

Climatologists vs Politicians 

Tucked away in the National Library of Medicine of all places, we find that the climate debate has been going on since at least 1998 in the report, Many climate change scientists do not agree that global warming is happening. 

According to the report, self-serving politicians altered qualified climatologists’ conclusions, leading Dr Frederick Seitz, a former head of the United States National Academy of Sciences, to write, “In more than sixty years as a member of the American scientific community I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC (1995 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report.”

Now, nearly 3 decades later, the green machine of radical environmental groups marches proudly on, still in the wrong direction pointed to in 1995, despite warnings from scientists actually inside climatology, such as the American Meteorological Society. 

“A letter signed by over 50 leading members of the American Meteorological Society warned about the policies promoted by environmental pressure groups. “The policy initiatives derive from highly uncertain scientific theories. They are based on the unsupported assumption that catastrophic global warming follows from the burning of fossil fuel and requires immediate action. We do not agree.” Those who have signed the letter represent the overwhelming majority of climate change scientists in the United States, of whom there are about 60.” 

Ice Core Analysis vs Greenhouse Gasbag Estimates

Questionable computer models are hardly equivalent to scientific processes such as ice core and ocean sediment analysis; sources for undeniable hard science that indicate the real survival issue facing human life on planet Earth. That is, the overdue arrival of the next impending, and far more perilous Ice Age. 

We joke, but it’s most likely that there is no actual hard field data, laboriously collected from either end of the cow, to support the rampant demonizing of methane, most of which naturally converts to the even more demonized GHG, carbon dioxide. 

Methane in the atmosphere allegedly retains 28 times more heat than CO2 before dissipating naturally in about 12 years, and when climate warming is the big boogeyman the green elites have net zero tolerance for anything connected with dreaded fossil fuels. 

Climate warming, natural and manmade, may indeed prove to be the savior of the planet, not the ocean-swelling monster that the green elites fear will wash away their luxurious oceanfront properties. 

Even when, by their own admission, GHGs prevent the next Ice Age, those recurring inhabitable periods with glaciers smothering most of the Northern Hemisphere and the human civilizations that exist there, greenhouse gasses that reverse the glacial dominance of the planet are still reviled. 

If Earth’s 2.6 million year known climate history continues to repeat itself, methane and other greenhouse gasses may already have spared us from consequences experienced in the last ice age including:

  • North America, the whole of northern Europe, the whole of northern Asia would be covered in ice.
  • Much less agricultural land would remain available, making it very difficult to support the human population.
  • The physical shape of the continents would change across the whole planet.
  • A huge drop in sea level of up to 120 meters would close down marine channels in the Mediterranean Sea, Torres Strait, Bass Strait and Bering Strait. 

On the bright side, survivors could once again walk from continent to continent and receding sea levels would open up new land for farming… if any farmers are left after the glacial freeze. 

ice age

Preventing the Earth’s Next Overdue Ice Age

“The onset of an ice age is related to the Milankovitch cycles – where regular changes in the Earth’s tilt and orbit combine to affect which areas on Earth get more or less solar radiation. When all these factors align so the northern hemisphere gets less solar radiation in summer, an ice age can be started.”- 

Tilt, or the Earth’s axis, and orbit around the sun are far beyond human control, yet these are the chief triggers for an ice age. Prior to the industrial age, the glacial trend for cool summers had been building for 6,000 years. Arguably, only human activity including agriculture and the industrial revolution nipped the new Ice Age in the bud. 

According to ice sheet modeler Steven Phipps, a palaeoclimatologist with the University of Tasmania;

“There’s no chance of us going into an ice age now because the greenhouse gasses we’ve put into the atmosphere during the industrial era have warmed the earth.”

So shouldn’t GHGs such as methane be the heroes rather than the villains for keeping the Earth habitable for human occupation? Even assuming that climate warming is the true problem, captured methane can still be a hero. 

Methane Benefits According to SoCalGas

SoCalGas, smack in the middle of uber-green California, has an uphill battle when it comes to pitching methane to relieve the self-induced California energy crunch. 

Here are the benefits according to the SoCalGas article Methane and the Environment:

  • Natural gas, which primarily consists of methane, is the cleanest burning fossil fuel.
  • Methane produced from non-fossil sources such as food and green waste can literally take carbon out of the air. 
  • Methane provides a great environmental benefit, producing more heat and light energy by mass than other hydrocarbons, or fossil fuel, including coal and gasoline refined from oil. 
  • Methane produces significantly less carbon dioxide and other pollutants that contribute to smog and unhealthy air. 
  • The more natural gas is used, in place of coal, to generate electricity or to replace gasoline to fuel cars, trucks, and buses, the less greenhouse gas emissions and smog-related pollutants are produced.” 
  • There are natural processes in soil and chemical reactions in the atmosphere that help remove methane from the atmosphere. 

The key to responsible methane use is to burn it as fuel. So R&D for capturing methane as a fuel source would be a much more sensible investment than $650 million squandered to plug the methane jug. If, as SoCalGas suggests, methane can be captured from wastewater treatment plants and dairies, could it not also be extracted from groundwater and orphan wells? 

Miniscule Man-Made Methane Mania

The result of the political legacy of 1995 trumping climatology right up to the present day is the alarmist green wave of propaganda such as this one from the Environmental Defense Fund, again backed up by another “estimate” from the Environmental Protection Agency. Even the agency names are intended to induce a manic state of emergency among the uninformed. 

“The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that methane emissions from over 2 million inactive, unplugged wells, of which documented orphan wells are a subset, range from a CO2 equivalent of 7-20 million metric tons per year”. 

So which is it, 7 or 20 million? Again we see the vague pseudoscience of the greensters presented as gospel truth.  

That’s as good an excuse as any for Joe Biden and the bipartisan greensters to fire up the deficit printers and crank out another $650 million green pie to be dished out to the states under the guises of “infrastructure spending” and “environmental protection”. 

Climate-phobic numbers like these are typically produced by GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) computer models that are so often the shaky foundation for GHG (Greenhouse Gas) theories that unqualified politicians and a gullible public accept as hard facts when it comes to the minuscule effect of manmade emissions when compared to Mother Nature’s natural thermostat, one that can delay the next imminent Ice Age. 

Hard data from ice core analysis and ocean sediments suggests that another ice age is due in accordance with the Earth’s natural cycle; that is an ice age every 100,00 years, with glacial climate dominating for 90,000 year periods, with a 10,000-year moderate interglacial period such as the one we’re nearing the end of now. The last ice age was 12,000 years ago, so we’re actually overdue for the Big Chill. 

“The Earth is due for another ice age now but climate change makes it very unlikely. So it’s possibly not just greenhouse gas emissions over the last 200 years that’s stopped us going into an ice age, but it’s actually greenhouse gas emissions for the last 5,000 years that have collectively helped to steer us away from the next ice age.”

If that’s the case, then thank God for greenhouse gasses and the human activities that produced them. 

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