By Ivan Quail
The Federal Clean Energy Regulator and National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme base their reporting on GHG emissions on safeguard mechanisms which commenced on 1 July 2016 and apply to facilities that emit more than 100,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO -e) covered emissions in a financial year.
Emissions are self reported by fossil fuel miners and producers/extractors for coal, oil and gas production in Australia.
Fugitive methane emissions from unconventional gas
The Commonwealth Government estimates that fugitive emissions from natural gas production are about 6.0% (Commonwealth Government, 2018).
These well workover fluxes are less than half the 50 tonnes of methane per well released during hydraulic fracturing operations based on estimates for 4000 shale gas wells in the US (O’Sullivan and Paltsev, 2012).
These are not audited or checked and verified by independent measurement and assessment.
Preindustrial 14CH4 indicates greater anthropogenic fossil CH4 emissions
Here we use preindustrial-era ice core 14CH4 measurements to show that natural geological CH4 emissions to the atmosphere were about 1.6 teragrams CH4 per year, with a maximum of 5.4 teragrams CH4 per year (95 percent confidence limit)—an order of magnitude lower than the currently used estimates. This result indicates that anthropogenic fossil CH4 emissions are underestimated by about 38 to 58 teragrams CH4 per year, or about 25 to 40 percent of recent estimates.
Oil and gas wells as a strong source of greenhouse gases
New study demonstrates methane leaks around North Sea boreholes
Date: August 28, 2017 … the scientists discovered a number of methane seeps around abandoned wells….According to the team’s calculations shallow gas migration along wells may release around 3,000 to 17,000 tonnes of methane from the North Sea seafloor per year. “This would reflect a significant contribution to the North Sea methane budget,” emphasizes Dr. Haeckel.
Converting emissions into CO -e allows the integrated effect of emissions of the various gases to be compared. The GWPs used in this Report were the 100-year GWPs contained in the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC 2007 AR4), Page 27
1 ton of Methane gas is counted as being equal to 25 tons of CO2
That was 14 years ago and was based on research and understanding of global warming in 2005-6.
Since then, we have had IPCC 2013 AR 5 which shows that 1 ton of methane is equal to 84 tons of CO2 over 20 years.
We have a Damocles Sword hanging over our heads which many, including in Government seem unaware of.
Arctic permafrost is thawing fast that affects us all.
Researchers now suspect that for every one degree Celsius rise in Earth’s average temperature, permafrost may release the equivalent of four to six years’ worth of coal, oil, and natural gas emissions—double to triple what scientists thought a few years ago. Within a few decades, if we don’t curb fossil fuel use, permafrost could be as big a source of greenhouse gases as China, the world’s largest emitter, is today.
We aren’t accounting for that. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has only recently started incorporating permafrost into its projections. It still underestimates just how wide Pandora’s freezer could swing open—and how much havoc that could unleash.
Large areas of perennially frozen (permafrost) peatlands are thawing, causing them to rapidly release the freeze-locked carbon back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane….
We found that peatlands cover approximately 3.7 million square kilometres. If it were a country, “Peatland” would be slightly larger than India. These peatlands also store approximately 415 gigatons (billion tons) of carbon – as much as is stored in all the world’s forests and trees together. Almost half of this northern peatland carbon is presently in permafrost.
Areas that once cooled the atmosphere by storing carbon would instead release more of both CO₂ and methane than they stored… by 2100, 40 percent of all permafrost might be gone.. ground temperatures have increased by three degrees since Mackay’s measurements from 1969 to ’71… Scientists estimate that the carbon held in frozen ground amounts to some 1,600 gigatonnes — twice the amount that is currently in the atmosphere.
“Are we so foolish as a species that we saw what was happening, and even measured it, but did nothing?”
The Polar caps are warming at twice the rate of the average for our planet as a whole.
We urgently need an independent audit of GHG emissions from gas wells, pipelines, production and processing facilities, including abandoned wells and coal mines.