A new Harvard University study finds that world methane emissions have recently spiked, and that the US appears to be the site of most of the increase. Natural gas fracking is the apparent culprit. This finding should be (though I wouldn’t bet on it) the final nail in the coffin of the “natural gas as bridge fuel to a clean energy future” argument.
The Obama administration has fixated on replacing coal with natural gas for electricity generation as a major pathway to meeting Paris COP 21 commitments for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Its strategy required the EPA to begin regulating CO2 as a pollutant (as the centerpiece of the “Clean Power Plan” or CPP). But industry fought the regulation all the way to the Supreme Court, which did something quite rare. It stepped in to block federal regulations going into effect until a lower court made a ruling, even though the lower court itself had denied a similar request. Now, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia (who sided with the “conservative” majority halting implementation of the regulation), there appears to be the possibility for an eventual reprieve of CPP.