Methane Hydrate melting

Not good news, I am afraid, and these bad tidings may be simply a precursor of worse tidings to come. First I should explain the background. Methane is a pernicious greenhouse gas. There is no doubt that atom for atom methane is a more pernicious greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide or water vapour, but not as long lasting in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Continue reading

Using Myths and Not History

Every time I post an essay about climate change some kind soul posts a comment with a link to a contrary view to the one I have expressed. Often the link cites a myth, and there are many myths that can be chosen to argue against climate change science. It is using fairy tales, constructed for entertainment and teaching morality, instead of real history, to explain the past.  Continue reading

In The Long Term We Are All Dead

As many people have expected the process of fracking releases much more methane into the atmosphere than official figures credit. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows how researchers used an aircraft to collect information about atmospheric methane concentrations and measured them. Continue reading

Cheap and Nasty Food

Ireland probably has one of the most robust systems for inspecting food in the world. It has been investigating frozen beef burgers and has found that in one case the beef burgers contained 29% horsemeat. In many cases there were traces of horsemeat and traces of pork, although these traces have been found by examining DNA and are almost certainly “de minimus”.

This news will certainly cause a great deal of concern to many people, who think that it is fundamental that they should know what they eat. Knowing what you eat is theoretically entirely within your control. If you like beef burgers you can pop along to the butchers and buy some keep, mince it up yourself with the ingredients that you have bought or made, and then cook it. However what is theoretically possible is not always practical.

If you work you might not have enough time to make your own beef burgers and as such will buy frozen ones. If you have little money you will buy the cheapest ones you find, to fill your empty stomach. You will probably eat more of them than you need, because the comfort factor, and possibly the addiction factor that relates to very cheap food. Continue reading

Greenhouse Gases Reach a New Record

The World Meteorological Organization reports that 2011 saw greenhouse gases reach their highest ever. Carbon dioxide was at 391 parts per million and methane at 1,813 parts per billion. These are trace elements in the atmosphere but nevertheless play an important role in the radiative forcing that leads to global temperature rises.   Continue reading

A Short Guide to the Legal Position of Fracking

Extracting natural gas from shale – fracking – is an investment opportunity, an opportunity for a nation that has shale gas deposits to be more energy independent, and could bring environmental benefits if natural gas replaces coal for electricity generation. There are, however, many legal issues involved and what follows is a short guide to those issues as I understand them. Continue reading

Gas Flaring – Cheap and Nasty

 

In 2007 Shell and the Nigerian Government undertook that they would end gas flaring by 2008. They have not kept their promise. Gas flaring is the practice of burning off methane from oil wells, instead of dealing with the methane in an environmentally friendly fashion. Continue reading