Jon Kofler will share details about how his mobile measurements in oil and gas regions are made and what the scientists are learning. The Picarro analyzer has been the backbone of CH4 measurements used to study oil and gas emissions. While overall basin-wide emission rates of natural gas from oil and gas operations have been estimated from aircraft measurements made by Global Monitoring Division Scientists, the van loaded with Picarro instrumentation has proven useful in identifying specific sources and their relative contribution to total emissions. In addition, emission ratios of methane relative to other trace gases such as benzene and toluene were measured near fracking sites and other stages in oil and gas production. Emissions or leak rates of methane gas are important in determining whether natural gas is a safe alternative to other energy sources. Jon will focus on the Denver Julesberg Basin studies and data, but also compare and contrast the local studies to the Uintah Basin in Utah and the Barnett in Texas. He will share many alarming first hand stories about what is happening on the ground!
Jon Kofler is the technical lead of the tall tower project at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Global Monitoring Division. Starting in 2004, with a team of technicians and engineers, he designed, assembled, tested and deployed a high accuracy measurement system for CO2, CO, and CH4 to 10 tall tower sites around the United States. Now he maintains these sites which provide high accuracy data for scientists engaged in climate research and other studies. Starting in 2009, again working on hardware to make measurements, he collaborated with Gabrielle Petron to make measurements of emissions from oil and gas operations using a mobile platform (a large van). He has driven over 4000 miles and logged more than 400 hours in 5 states while making mobile measurements in the past few years. In spite of all his driving for work, he is an avid environmentalist and strives to reduce his carbon footprint in his personal life.
“CDPHE is seeking comments on the DRAFT Inventory, the methodology, assumptions, and the ways that the inventory can be tailored to Colorado emissions. Please use the following comments form and email comments to Theresa Takushi. The final inventory will consider comments that have been received by March 15, 2014.”
The social cost of carbon might not be a conversation that comes up at the dinner table, but realize it or not the implications of global climate change are far reaching and daunting. How important is the fate of the future generation? When your children grow up, what kind of world do you want them to experience? Putting a numeric value on the future is difficult, but it must be done if we are to change the direction of our energy future, and introduce cleaner energy technologies that produce less harmful pollution and emissions.
Coal is perceived as a more economic energy source then many renewable technologies. The Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences recently published an article about the implications of modernizing our electricity systems. The US government needs an official cost estimate associated with the production of CO2 from fossil fuels. According to report, without counting pollution and carbon emissions, coal, on average, costs 3.0 cents/kWh versus wind energy (8.0 cents/kWh) or photovoltaics (13.3 cents/kWh) (Johnson et al. 2013). The government is now trying to take into account the environmental costs of using fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. This includes adding a cost of potential damages caused by the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. These potential and already realized costs include damages and deaths incurred from drought, floods, heat waves, hurricanes and other natural phenomenon that have been exacerbated given human induced climate change. Additionally, the social cost of carbon has serious public safety and health implications. Increased pollution has led to increases in asthma, water contamination, and rises in climate sensitive diseases. Every day our health and wellbeing are being compromised and if we do not change our current energy practices, and it will only continue to worsen for our futures. Continue reading What Value Should We Place on Our Future?→
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently developing carbon pollution reduction standards for new and existing power plants that will be implemented under the Clean Air Act as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), “fossil fuel lawyers are attacking the standards, saying that the EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Air Act to establish any actual limits on carbon pollution. If the EPA does have that authority, there are no demonstrated measures to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, so any required emission reductions must at most be ‘minimal.'”