Jersey Strong? A Different Kind of Stock Market In “The Garden State”
One Table Tells a Big Story
Savings, Deficits, and Carbon Stock Market Crash In Jersey City & Freehold
The Real Cliff We Need to Worry About Is a Climate Cliff
The EPA’s release of greenhouse gas emissions data has gotten very favorable (and misleading) headline treatment in NJ media circles:
- NJ Fares Well in EPA’s Map of Greenhouse Gas Totals in Industrial States. Garden State isn’t even among top 10; Linden has three of our worst-polluting facilities
Of course ranking US states by greenhouse gas emissions is highly misleading, because states vary so much in population and economic activity.
But aside from the obviously silly technical stuff, gee wiz, I wonder what economic special interests would want to spin greenhouse gas emissions data in a favorable way?
And do this just at a time when President Obama has put the issue back on the table and the largest global warming protest ever will occur next Sunday (2/17/13) in Washington DC?
But scratch just a micron beneath the surface of the news stories themselves or the actual EPA data – and what the EPA data and Report fail to tell (like record coal, oil, and gas production levels – or proven coal & oil reserves in corporate portfolio’s) - and a very different and disturbing picture emerges.
First, we learn this, from NJ Spotlight:
It should be noted that the EPA data does not include greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, the largest source of pollution contributing to global climate change.
But, none of those positive press reports told us this, which is just an additional piece of mounting evidence on gas drilling and pipeline leaks and lifecycle GHG potential that destroys the credibility of the natural gas emissions data:
Methane leaks erode green credentials of natural gas
Losses of up to 9% show need for broader data on US gas industry’s environmental impact.
Scientists are once again reporting alarmingly high methane emissions from an oil and gas field, underscoring questions about the environmental benefits of the boom in natural-gas production that is transforming the US energy system.
The researchers, who hold joint appointments with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado in Boulder, first sparked concern in February 2012 with a study1 suggesting that up to 4% of the methane produced at a field near Denver was escaping into the atmosphere. If methane — a potent greenhouse gas — is leaking from fields across the country at similar rates, it could be offsetting much of the climate benefit of the ongoing shift from coal- to gas-fired plants for electricity generation. [...]
A great deal rides on getting the number right. A study4 published in April by scientists at the EDF and Princeton University in New Jersey suggests that shifting to natural gas from coal-fired generators has immediate climatic benefits as long as the cumulative leakage rate from natural-gas production is below 3.2%; the benefits accumulate over time and are even larger if the gas plants replace older coal plants. By comparison, the authors note that the latest estimates from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that 2.4% of total natural-gas production was lost to leakage in 2009.
So, instead of doing all the hard work of wading through all that data and text, I thought I push back against that favorably spun news coverage and randomly dig up one simple data chart from the EPA emissions inventory Report that packs a lot of information about and captures the less than favorable essence of the “Garden State” – cars, pavement, and pollution.