Arvind Ravikumar Profile picture
Professor @UTAustin @UT_PGE studying sustainable energy transitions, equity, and climate policy around the world. Past: @HarrisburgU, @Stanford, @Princeton
Dec 9, 2021 15 tweets 8 min read
🚨Preprint Alert🚨IT'S HERE!

For the first time, we use a large-scale controlled study of O&G #methane emissions to answer a basic question: How effective are commonly used Leak Detection & Repair (LDAR) programs?

There's a LOT we learnt here. Thread: 1/… EPA has proposed regulations to reduce #methane emissions from O&G sector. If global energy sector methane were a country, it would be the third largest emitter behind only China & US.

Key part of these regs are leak detection & repair (LDAR) programs. 2/…
Oct 26, 2021 9 tweets 6 min read
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.
Feb 20, 2021 9 tweets 4 min read
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/
Dec 11, 2020 6 tweets 3 min read
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
Oct 13, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
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.
Jan 14, 2020 8 tweets 4 min read
🚨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/… 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
Nov 7, 2019 6 tweets 2 min read
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.
Nov 3, 2019 4 tweets 1 min read
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.
Sep 27, 2019 7 tweets 2 min read
I don't know why #degrowth keeps popping up.

As someone whose family was once poor and lived in a developing country, let me say that it's a preposterous suggestion.

We must fight for *sustainable* growth, lifting billions into the middle class. Degrowth is not an option. I am so amazed by the thoughtful and sincere engagement from a range of voices on this important issue. Thank you all.

I have gotten a lot of useful material to read (which I will, ever so slowly), but here are a few things I've learnt:
Aug 2, 2019 6 tweets 3 min read
This one paper on the economic impact of the complete melting of Greenland Ice Sheet perfectly demonstrates the inadequacy of the social cost of carbon estimate, & more generally conventional economic models, to estimate climate damages.… This is a good study that can be done within the bounds of the DICE model. But it is a bit ludicrous to treat large-scale changes to the earth system as a stand-alone event. Here's one example: potential impacts to ocean circulation.…