I'm out here in WY near the Wind River Range to measure #methane emissions. As I write this, EPA is working on releasing updated methane regulations.

Let me tell you why this is not necessarily bad news. A thread on the complexity of #methane accounting: 1/
First, why is #methane fee a great idea? Recent data show that #methane emissions from operators vary by many orders of magnitude. So it makes sense that under a fee, responsible operators will be rewarded and those with high emissions will be penalized.
So, what's the issue with BBB proposal? Fee is entirely based on self-reporting to EPA GHGRP. 2 problems:

1) Emissions are underestimated in EPA report
2) Only facilities >25000 CO2e required to report

This sets up potential for fraud as it's easy to reduce emissions on paper.
Now, there are ways to fix this by updating EPA reporting protocols. We even wrote a paper on how to do it. But until the reported inventory accurately reflects actual emissions, a #methane fee based on the inventory will not work as intended.
So, how should we do a #methane fee properly?

We know several things about methane:
1) Super-emitters are a huge issue - need to find them quickly.
2) Large emissions can also be intermittent - you always need to be on the lookout.
2) Emissions vary significantly over time
Thus, any effective #methane fee must be based on direct measurements. Multi-scale measurements are required:
1) Frequent surveys of all sites to estimate emissions.
2) Continuous sensors on sites to catch super-emitters.

Existing tech can do this. eartharxiv.org/repository/vie…
But this has not been tested before. So, we are implementing a similar protocol to find out if we can use multi-scale measurements to accurately estimate emissions from each site, from each operator. It is possible, but we need the right measurements.
Until we can figure that out, flexible EPA regulations that allow for the use of new technologies is the way to go. That's exactly what the EPA is about to do! We even wrote how: pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.102…
To summarize,
1) Losing #methane fee is not all bad, EPA is on top of effective regulations.
2) A #methane fee without direct and frequent measurements is not worth the paper it's printed on.
3) We'll soon be able to undertake fee-based approach globally with new tech. /End

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More from @arvindpawan1

20 Feb
Good summary of what went wrong with the TX grid. I am going to try to explain what happened on the natural gas supply chain.

TL;DR: Combination of extended cold, unique basin properties, old pipes, and gas/electricity dependence. Thread. 1/
First, here's the natural gas supply chain. The parts that failed were in 3 areas:

1) oil & gas wells
2) Gathering lines
3) Equipment malfunction at power plants
4) Outage cut power to compressor stations that moved gas

+Other long-term issues like limited storage in TX. 2/
1) Why did O&G wells fail?

Permian basin is a liquids-rich basin. In addition to gas, wells also produce oil & water. For e.g., for every barrel of oil produced, you bring up 2-3 barrels of water.

In extended cold, water freezes and blocks the flow of gas from the well.
Read 9 tweets
11 Dec 20
Today's @Ben_Geman generate shows that #methane venting and flaring in TX and ND reached record highs in 2019.

This has serious implications for the lifecycle GHG emissions of natural gas power plants. US average leakage rate masks a lot of variation. 1/
So, Alan Strayer - UG student in our lab, painstakingly traced gas flow from production basins to power plants to estimate state-specific leakage rates.

US avg. leak rate is ~2%, but states in the Midwest/SW have far higher leakage while states in NE/SE are lower. 2/ Image
Part of this is because of high venting/flaring as @Ben_Geman reports, in the Permian & Bakken basins, but also Canadian imports.

Looking at power plants by state, we see that states in MW/SW have higher emissions intensity than plants in the NE. 3/ Image
Read 6 tweets
13 Oct 20
Folks citing direct employment numbers in the gas industry in PA to suggest Biden is wrong on his "no fracking ban" policy don't get the ecosystem of people in these communities. It's not just a job - it's family, it's small businesses, & entire communities that will be affected.
I have been in these towns, I collect data in these towns, & it's not hard to see how entire community revolves around an industry.

It's not just a job, it's a way of life.

To suggest that it's only 10K jobs or votes is patronizing, elitist, reductive, and importantly, wrong.
I am one of the few in this country to engage with this issue intellectually while also forging a personal connection with these towns & workers.

And I have come to understanding their perspective, their hopes & challenges, and how we should really talk about energy transition.
Read 6 tweets
14 Jan 20
🚨New Paper Alert🚨In a first study of this kind, we *empirically* show that leak detection and repair programs - a common methane policy tool - are indeed effective at reducing emissions over many years of implementation. We also found a few surprises. 1/ iopscience.iop.org/article/10.108… Image
First, emissions reduced by 44% between two LDAR surveys conducted over a period of 0.5 - 2 years from the initial survey.

Compare this to EPA (or other state policy) assumptions that annual surveys reduce leaks by 40%. Pretty close. But, note I said emissions, not leaks. 2/ Image
Important context:

Methane emissions consists of leaks (unintentional, fixable) and vents (intentional, not fixable). Leak detection policies only target leaks.

But, some vents can be fixed because they vent far more than what they were designed for. These anomalous vents. 3/
Read 8 tweets
7 Nov 19
I keep getting hate mails, so let me explain.

In any context, using "population control" or "population reduction" is never okay.

Your intentions may not be malicious, but given the genocidal history of that phrase, it is best to not use that framing.

Population growth in developed countries is below what's need to maintain a steady population.

So, when you're referring to "population reduction", you're specifically referring to the developing world.

Here's global fertility rate, where <2.3 is below replacement rate.
And saying population should be reduced when referring to the developing world has a long history in racism, eugenics, forced sterilizations, and other unspeakable horrors in our history.

This isn't new. There's a long history of well-funded Malthusian overpopulation alarmism.
Read 6 tweets
3 Nov 19
What disappoints me so much is people I admire talking about the developing world in a flippant & superficial way.

“Solar is the answer.”
“X country can leapfrog to EVs.”

And yet when talking about their work, typically centered on the West, they delve into nuance & complexity.
Whether these simplistic narratives are correct is beside the point.

They reinforce a damaging & imperialistic view of the developing world - that solutions to their challenges are easy & obvious, if only they listened to us.

This is getting into white man’s burden territory.
The developing world is at least as complex and nuanced as the developed world and is as worthy of careful study.

It’s perfectly okay to say “I’m not an expert on country X” if that’s not your area of research.
Read 4 tweets

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