Last October’s huge methane leak at Aliso Canyon, California, was the biggest natural gas leak in US history – and a worse environmental disaster than the BP oil spill – as confirmed by a new scientific investigation.
Yet, apparently, Prime Minister David Cameron isn’t concerned: despite fierce objections, the government’s fracking plans are still forging ahead.
Researchers analysed samples taken from the atmosphere around the leak between November 2015 and February 2015. Their results show the rate of the leak was equivalent to “the annual energy sector [methane] emissions from medium-sized EU nations.” They also say the impact of the leak on climate change is “equal to that from the annual GHG emissions from 572,000 passenger cars in the US.”
It’s not just major disasters that are releasing unwanted methane into the atmosphere; research published last year showed that gas gathering facilities in the US lose almost three billion cubic metres of natural gas every year – eight times more than the Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
Not very good for climate change, or for emissions targets, you might be thinking – and you’d be right. According to the researchers who analysed the Aliso Canyon leak, the disaster will tip California over its emissions targets for the year.