Technology to the Rescue

Op-Ed on Thomson Reuters Sustainability by Mark R. Kriss

Satellites can deliver transparency on super polluters in near real time.

This week brought depressing news of yet another environmental mega disaster. An oil spill has been quietly leaking between 300 and 500 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico since a Taylor Energy-owned production platform located 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana was toppled by an underwater mudslide caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.  After 14 years of limited success in capping the leak, the Taylor Energy leak now verges on becoming a worse offshore disaster than the infamous British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon explosion of 2010.

Sadly, the Taylor Energy leak is not the gravest environmental threat we face. But it’s symptomatic of the sometimes hidden costs – to ecosystems, the food chain, public health and climate stability – of the fossil fuel industry.

Like Deepwater Horizon, the Taylor Energy oil spill is primarily a regional ecological disaster. Invisible methane leaks from oil and gas production and distribution have a far bigger effect on global warming – an existential threat to human life as we know it – than oil spills.

MethaneScan® in the news

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Live long and prosper

October 17, 2018 on Reuters BreakingViews | By Tim Nixon

Climate activism is nearing the final frontier – and at just the right moment. Last week’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that keeping the rise in the Earth’s temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius requires us to make unprecedented changes by 2030 in the way we use energy resources. One big stumbling block is a lack of enough accurate data. That will soon change, though, as Google, Planet, MethaneScan and a host of space agencies are starting to track greenhouse gases from orbit.

Methane leaks offset much of the climate change benefits of natural gas, study says

June 21, 2018 in the Washington Post

The U.S. oil and gas industry emits 13 million metric tons of methane from its operations each year — nearly 60 percent more than current estimates and enough to offset much of the climate benefits of burning natural gas instead of coal, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

 Natural gas burn off near oil pumps in Watford City, N.D. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Natural gas burn off near oil pumps in Watford City, N.D. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Gas leaks worse for climate than thought, study says

June 21, 2018 in Financial Times

Methane escapes exceeded US government estimates by about 60%

Leaks of methane from the US oil and gas industry are about 60 per cent higher than government estimates, new research has suggested, heightening concerns about their contribution to global warming.

 The scale of methane leakage from wells, processing plants and pipelines is central to the debate over switching from coal to gas for power generation © Bloomberg

The scale of methane leakage from wells, processing plants and pipelines is central to the debate over switching from coal to gas for power generation © Bloomberg

Research Findings Presented at Yale Symposium on State of ESG Data and Metrics

Macroclimate® — together with colleagues at Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) and the climate data division of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS-Ethix) — presented a collaborative research paper on the state-of-the-art in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data at a Yale University Symposium on September 22, 2017. The paper – A Geofinancial Engineering Initiative: Using Real Time Environmental Data from Satellites to Move Financial Markets and Improve Climate Outcomes – was published in the September issue of the Journal of Environmental Investing (pdf).