Flaring and venting, planet friendly diet, using nature to repair the damage
A collection of climate stories mostly
Brands behaving badly
Brands that don’t care enough, if at all
North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) - nearly 1 million additional UK homes could be heated IF methane was collected.
Courtesy of Energy Voice
Methane is a routine by-product of oil and gas exploration. Traditionally, it’s been removed by flaring - setting light to it, or venting - letting it escape into the earth’s atmosphere.
Methane has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide for the first 20 years after release. At least 25% of the global warming happening today is because of human activity due to the release of methane.
As Professor Dave Reay from the University of Edinburgh told BBC news,
"The big attraction for reducing methane is you get a big bang for your buck very quickly in terms of tackling climate change.”
The amount of methane generated in the UK is largely split between farming 48% and waste disposal 41%. But it’s the 11% from the oil and gas industry which is still the easiest to capture. There is still enough methane in that 11% to heat 900,000 additional UK homes.
In October 2021 the International Energy Agency (IEA) calculated that nearly half of global methane emissions could be stopped at zero net cost to the oil and gas companies.
With gas prices soaring after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it must be even more attractive to capture nearly all of this wasted and most damaging of gases.
Reading that the NSTA, has published a series of guidelines on methane emissions doesn’t appear to be cause for hope. They’ve been criticised for not improving monitoring and enforcement, especially, when they expect the industry to stop venting and flaring by 2030.
Something green enough to generate hope rather than carbon
Which diet is best for the planet and could also help you live longer?
Courtesy of Anna Pelzer, Unsplash
This is sometimes called a click bait title. The question can easily be answered in a single sentence, but that wouldn’t be very entertaining for us, the readers. Instead, we give permission to be taken on a journey, we read on, because what’s wrong with saving the planet and living a little longer? And we’d also like there to be a fairy tale twist so we can continue eating what we want in moderation, without a guilty conscience.
The truth of course lies in the old adage that you can’t have your cake and eat it.
Diets with names like the climatarian diet or climate carnivore diet, continue to endorse eating cake or more importantly meat, still save the planet and be healthier. In the end, the answer is disappointingly familiar. They advocate a switch away from red meat and endorse the responsible consumption of locally produced meat wherever possible.
That makes such diets all but impossible to follow, except for the wealthy, unless you stop eating meat altogether. Then of course, you can call yourself a vegetarian and become a money saver.
I became one (with an occasional order of fish) for the reasons given in the title. My contrarian nature likes being part of the 13% of the UK population that doesn’t eat meat. A vigilante with a cause - a healthier lifestyle for the planet and me, which did come with plenty of sacrifice because I loved the stuff.
Veganism, an entirely plant based alternative, is also on a significant upward trend with a 40% increase over the last 12 months (600k, 2022 figures). In a report commissioned by No Meat May, by 2040, 50% of UK consumers will avoid meat and 15% will be fully vegan. The research conducted by food futurologist Dr. Morgaine Gaye, also reported that Generation Zs, will no longer see meat as macho and will be ashamed to buy it in public. They already avoid milk and dairy related products apparently.
Food emissions equate to 13.7 billion tonnes of CO2 a year. It comes from various sources including methane from cattle, nitrous oxide from fertilisers and carbon dioxide from cutting down forests to expand farmland.
Either through choice or more likely government legislation eventually, this number could be halved or better, if the world moved to a plant-based diet.
An uplifting story to round off your week
Uttarakhand meadows, using nature’s power to restore
Courtesy of The Better India
In the North Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, the beautiful alpine meadows of grasses and wild flowers are scarred by erosion damage cause by climate change, overgrazing and tourism. The same degradation has been found in higher altitude grasslands, like those in Kashmir, China and Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park.
Gullies like the one in the picture are widening and deepening after every monsoon. The rainwater is channelled, bringing silt and gravel down at speed which increases the risk of flash flooding and landslides in the more heavily populated areas below.
But how could the government’s forestry department come up with a solution which didn’t involve a clumsy human intervention such as building concrete dams to help stem the flow?
The answer was a biodegradable fibre called coir, obtained from the husks of coconuts and stitched together into logs. The logs were packed with waste pine needles and the test area of 6,600 square metres had every gully filled with the logs, tethered with bamboo pegs.
Additional check dams, were made with the same process, to help reduce the speed of the water further and prevent the topsoil being washed away.
Courtesy of The Better India
The impact was almost instant. Within 1 month the test area had 15% more vegetation than the control area which was left untreated.
During the flowering season that followed, the coir matting trapped the silt and top soil, containing the seeds which were now able to germinate.
The local community, who were concerned about the grazing ground for their animals, found themselves being employed to stitch the coir logs and fill them with pine needles. 70 villagers were employed for two months being relatively well paid in an area where there are few additional livelihood opportunities.
The forestry department also created an alternate grazing ground to reduce the pressure on the damaged area.
The cost of the project was reduced by at least 20% by making the coir logs locally. In future, if a replacement can be found for the coir, which comes from 1,500 miles away, the costs could be reduced further.