Wednesday, March 11, 2015

No Need To Worry About Hydrates

Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 and there are vast amounts of methane (trillions of cubic feet of gas) locked up underground in the form of frozen hydrates. A recurring concern I hear is that climbing temperatures will result in these hydrates melting and releasing some portion of the methane into the atmosphere where it will provide a positive feedback to global warming and make it worse.

I've always been skeptical about this, not because I feel it isn't a threat but because I think that is closing the barn door after the cows have gone. Yes, rising temperatures will melt methane hydrates and cause global warming to be worse, but if we take care of the CO2 problem the methane problem will never materialize.

Now, a government scientist is saying the same thing. Ray Boswell, the technology manager for natural gas technologies at DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory said,

“CO2′s going to be your big problem. If it causes a methane problem, that’s like someone burning the rubble of your house after a hurricane already hit.”
Yes, methane is being released, but it always has been. It is possible the rate of release in increasing. However, the bottom line is still the same - take care of the CO2 problem and the other problems will take care of themselves.

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