Some consider natural gas preferable to other fossil fuels “because it emits 50-60% less carbon dioxide (CO2) during combustion.” But over the course of its’100-year lifespan natural gas’ primary component has “a radiative forcing greater than 30 times that of CO2.”1 According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Methane is responsible for 25% of already observed changes to Earth’s climate.” Two new studies find Canada’s methane emissions drastically underreported.
The future of Vancouver’s new Green Building Rezoning Policy is already uncertain. As of this morning, there is an emissions cap on all new construction and buildings applying for rezoning. There are several ways developers “can meet the energy efficiency and emissions targets (50 per cent decrease in GHGs).” They can use “better insulation, thicker windows, and better design, as well as opting for renewable energy.” However the largest cause of the city’s emissions is natural gas and so Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals attack Vancouver’s attempt to limit emissions.
Some of PSE&G’s (PSE&G) natural gas pipelines were laid down a century ago. The New Jersey utility continued using cast iron until the 1950s. Now there is approximately one methane leak for each of the pipeline’s 3,900 miles. Though PSE&G intends to replace the entire cast iron and unprotected steel infrastructure, this is too costly ($1.5 million to $2.0 million per mile)to do overnight. With the help of new technology developed by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Google and Colorado State University. PSE&G is natural gas pipeline emissions by 83% in the area surveyed area, while replacing about 1/3 less mileage to do so.
Anyone trying to understand the “why?” of some (seemingly stupid) political actions should read David Mason’s recent column in the Globe and Mail. His explanation of the Canadian Government’s approval of the $36 billion (CAN) Pacific NorthWest LNG project, on Lelu Island in British Columbia, boils down to the politics of quid pro quo.