Smoke and methane

Another week has passed and with it, smoke season has inundated the Truckee Meadows. The blue sky has not been visible for a few days, and I wear my mask outside instead of in.

I remain diligent and continue to commute on my bicycle. I do shuttle the kids in the car to daycare and school then strap on an N95 and pedal into the homogenous gloom of smoke. In just a few days, the mask is noticeably dirty on the outside.

This week I have been reading and learning aboute methane. Under the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, there is a chunk of change dedicated to research around methane removal.

There is also a tax on methane emissions.

“The law includes a bold new methane fee that penalizes oil and gas facilities emitting methane above an established threshold; it also provides funding for facility methane mitigation and monitoring,” wrote Ebun Ayandele in a recent press release.

Ayandele is a senior associate in climate intelligence at RMI, an independent, non-partisan organization of experts across disciplines working to accelerate the clean energy transition.

Why methane? It happens to be a potent greenhouse gas. One that is up to 70 times more effective at warming than carbon dioxide. The caveat, however, the warming is mostly active during the first 20 years after being emitted. This translates to a rapid rising in global average temperature as methane emissions continue to climb.

“The prominent and growing role of methane emissions in present and future climate change is increasingly understood — methane contributes to at least a quarter of today’s gross warming; its concentration continues to rise rapidly in large part from anthropogenic sources.”

This is according to an article published in Environmental Research Letters in 2021.

While I do not have my reporting done for this story, I am thrilled to be writing about methane. It is a critical greenhouse gas that needs immediate attention in the public’s mind.

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Richard Bednarski

With a background in Anthropology and Photography, I hold a Master’s Degree in Journalism. My goal is to illustrate the #ClimateCrisis through storytelling.