Deepwater Horizon On Land: Porter Ranch’s Neverending Gas Leak Prompts California State of Emergency

It’s the gas leak that just won’t end. One whose impacts have now become so wide-ranging that it has prompted California governor Brown to issue a declaration of emergency. But, even with vast state resources now in place to help deal with this disaster, the impacts are likely to be long-lasting and far-reaching. Serious impacts both to public health and to California’s contribution to global atmospheric, oceanic, and glacial warming.

A Dangerous Industry With Long-Lasting Impacts

(The Environmental Defense Fund issued this aerial infrared footage of a massive gas leak at Porter Ranch, California. In total, more than 180 million pounds of the gas has already leaked from the disaster site — increasing California’s methane emissions by 25 percent, sickening hundreds of local residents, and forcing the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes. Video Source: The Environmental Defense Fund.)

Poking holes in the Earth or blasting it apart with high-pressure flows of water to access fossil fuels has always been a dangerous proposition. Much of the stuff is volatile, poisonous, and often under high pressure requiring special equipment to regulate and contain its flow. Often, for decades or even centuries after a well has been exhausted for commercial use, it can still represent a danger to the public. Not to mention the fact that each pound of carbon extracted and burned contributes to pushing the globe toward a terrible hothouse mass extinction event.

It’s the kind of generational legacy hazard we often associate with nuclear energy. But when one considers the combined impacts of human-forced warming of the globe and the potential for toxic blowouts, the often invisible dangers of fossil fuel are revealed. Leaks, or related contamination of water and ground, the long lasting-impact of thousands of old coal mines or oil and gas wells along with the climate impact of the carbon already burned is something probably even worse than the nuclear hazard.

Just One Leak Increases California Emissions by 25 Percent, Sickens Residents

Back in October of 2015, an old gas well in the neighborhood of Porter Ranch, a suburb of Los Angeles, California, began spewing copious volumes of poisonous natural gas into the air. The well emitted 100,000 pounds of gas each hour. A rate that in one single event increased the methane emissions of the State of California by fully 25 percent.

But aside from massively and unexpectedly contributing to an already very dangerous global warming nightmare that is setting off increasingly extreme weather and geophysical changes across the Earth, the torrent of gas spewing from Porter Ranch instantly put residents and animals at risk. People in the region began experiencing wooziness almost immediately and the toxic impacts of long-term exposure to the gas leak can only be guessed at this time.

More specifically, people in the area complained of smells like propane or rotten eggs. Soon afterward, residents began experiencing an odd sense of disorientation. Nose bleeds, headaches, nausea, nagging coughs, sore throat problems, and fatigue followed. The victims included many of the residents of the Porter Ranch neighborhood as well as school children. In total, all of the schools in the region have now been evacuated along with the dwellers in more than 2,000 residences near the leak.

Serious Risk to Public Health Covered Up By Gas Industry

Natural gas in high concentrations impedes the flow of oxygen to the body which may result in a number of health problems, especially over extended periods of time. In very high concentrations, the gas causes asphyxiation which can rapidly result in death. But, also very concerning, is the fact that gas may be laced with dangerous concentrations of sulfur, hydrogen sulfide or other chemicals which can have serious and potentially long-lasting impacts to many major organ systems in the human body. The tell-tale rotten eggs smell residents of Porter Ranch reported is often a sign, not only of the odorant mercaptan, but also of the presence of these dangerous toxins.

Little is now known about the specific harm and danger to those exposed to this massive gas leak — which has been aptly described as a Deepwater Horizon on land. This is mainly due to the fact that SoCalGas, like so many fossil fuel based corporations in the current day, behaved in a reprehensible and irresponsible manner.

Porter Ranch Gas Leak Graphics

(Engineers still are unsure of the exact location of the Porter Ranch gas leak in the well shaft. Solutions include a time-consuming drilling of a relief well more than 8,000 feet deep. Engineers suspect that the leak may have developed where the cement well casing ends some 990 feet below the surface. SoCalGas issued the following graphic as a response to critics who stated the company wasn’t acting fast enough to stop the leak. Image source: Southern California Gas.)

The Porter Ranch gas well was just like many of the thousands-upon-thousands of wells being drilled across this country today. It produced gas until the company owning the well could no longer make a profit from selling it. At this time, the well was fitted with a blowout prevent or to prevent dangerous gas leaks of the kind Porter Ranch experienced over past months. But years later, and with no apparent explanation other than the cost-saving but risk-increasing practice of cannibalizing old well equipment, the blowout preventer was removed. Gas built up in or around the well. And by October of 2015, due to a fossil fuel company’s failure to provide for the safety of people living near the old well, the gas came erupting out.

Unfortunately, as has been the case with the related issue of climate change on a vast scale throughout the industry, and as has also been the case anytime one of these corporations’ hazardous ventures resulted in risk or harm, the first response was denial. SoCalGas couldn’t deny the fact that the gas leak had occurred. But it could deny the impacts. And so, making the false claim that scientists supported their communication, it did.

According to CNN, SoCalGas continuously issued the following statement during the first months of the gas leak:

“The well is located in an isolated, mountain area more than a mile away from and more than 1,200 feet higher than the closest home or public area… natural gas is not toxic and … its odorant is harmless at the minute levels at which it is added to natural gas.”

After residents and animals experienced health problems in the area, it’s become pretty clear that SoCalGas wasn’t telling the truth. It was instead attempting to cover-up both risks and ongoing harm in one of its industrial leak zones. A sadly and reprehensibly common practice.

One More Bad Act By Fossil Fuels

SoCalGas has since backed away from this initial statement and is now simply claiming it will do all it can to plug the well — a process which, like capping the Deepwater Horizon blowout, may take months. One that will take place after the health of Porter Ranch residents has been impacted and after tens of millions of pounds of greenhouse gas trapping methane have erupted into an already carbon over-burdened atmosphere.

To call such industrial activity irresponsible would be a vast understatement. And, given such actions by this destructive industry, one cannot help but wonder why the entirely appropriate campaign to urge individuals and institutions to take the moral high road and divest from all fossil fuels hadn’t started sooner. But now that such a just campaign is active, individuals, institutions, cities, states and nations now have the opportunity show their disapproval for continued risky activity, cover-ups by fossil fuel industry, and an ongoing effort to indefinitely dump heat-trapping carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere by entirely removing their monetary support of this harmful and amoral industry. It’s time to say goodbye to both the toxins and the lies and excuses that are also all-too-toxic to our public discourse.

Links:

Porter Ranch Gas Leak Triggers State of Emergency

Porter Ranch Gas Leak: California Declares State of Emergency

Porter Ranch Gas Leak Live Updates: The LA Times

Go Fossil Fuel Free

The Environmental Defense Fund

Southern California Gas Accused of ENRON-Linked Energy Market Manipulation During Late 1990s and Early 2000s

Rotten Eggs Smell Could Cost SoCalGas

Southern California Gas Official Company History

Sempra Energy — Parent Company to SoCalGas

Hat Tip to Caroline (for showing early, prescient, concern about this particular gas leak)

Hat Tip to DT Lange (for his amazingly thorough research on this subject)

 

Leave a comment

121 Comments

  1. – Robert, it may be helpful for all to know the hierarchy of those involved in this Aliso Canyon storage facility which is adjacent to the community of Porter Ranch .

    – Southern California Gas Company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy®. © 1998 – 2015 Southern California Gas Company.

    http://sempra.com/

    – Thanks for the Hat Tip.

    Reply
  2. – Have to wonder of impacts if snow melts will happen while river drainages are running high from rainfall. It may be something to watch for.

    NWS WPC ‏@NWSWPC 28m28 minutes ago

    More than 6 inches of #snow could fall in the upper Great Lakes over the weekend.

    Reply
  3. Caroline

     /  January 7, 2016

    Thanks for the excellent (cracker jack!) coverage of the most important issues facing the world. Thanks too for the hat tip Robert.

    “Absolutely” is one of the most overused words of late—I try to avoid it—- but my reaction to:
    “It’s time to say goodbye to both the toxins and the lies and excuses that are also all-too-toxic to our public discourse”: ABSOLUTELY!!
    and this:
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/07/human-impact-has-pushed-earth-into-the-anthropocene-scientists-say

    Reply
  4. – See animated gif of N Atlantic storm at:

    https://twitter.com/NWSOPC

    NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 11h11 hours ago

    Loop of SEVIRI RGB air mass product w/hurricane force low SE of Greeland & associated front moving into the UK #GRPB

    Reply
    • – Same here;
      NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 7h7 hours ago

      cyclogenesis / intensifying low pressure off the SE Coast, moving northeast towards Bermuda

      Reply
  5. – Here’s insideclimatenews 01/07

    Why SoCal’s Methane Leak Is So Hard to Fix

    http://insideclimatenews.org/content/why-socals-methane-leak-so-hard-fix

    Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    Scientists say humans have now brought on an entirely new geologic epoch

    A group of 24 geoscientists on Thursday released a bracing assessment, suggesting that humans have altered the Earth so extensively that the consequences will be thoroughly detectable in current and future geological records. They, therefore, suggest that we should consider the Earth to have moved into a new geologic epoch, the “Anthropocene,” sometime circa 1945-1964.

    The current era (at least under present definitions), known as the Holocene, began about 11,700 years ago, and was marked by warming and major sea level rise coming out of a major cool period, the Younger Dryas. However, the researchers suggest, changes ranging from growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to infusions of plastics into marine sediments suggest that we’ve now left the Holocene decisively behind —

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/07/scientists-say-humans-have-now-brought-on-an-entirely-new-geologic-epoch/

    Reply
  7. wili

     /  January 7, 2016

    The indomitable vox, who also has a great thread on Brazil, has a good thread about this, with lots of links, at POForums: http://peakoil.com/forums/california-gas-leak-t72166.html

    Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    UAE desert sand can store solar energy up to 1000°c

    Summary:
    Researchers have successfully demonstrated that desert sand from the UAE could be used in concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities to store thermal energy up to 1000°C. The research project called ‘Sandstock’ has been seeking to develop a sustainable and low-cost gravity-fed solar receiver and storage system, using sand particles as the heat collector, heat transfer and thermal energy storage media.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104164852.htm

    Reply
  9. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    A carbon sink that can’t be filled
    Organic matter in forests is breaking down more quickly with climate change, accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160107104816.htm

    Reply
  10. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and commented:
    Energy industry lies might be the most reprehensible in their consequences for the global environment and all its species. However, they resemble the lies told by the chemical industry about pesticides, the lies told by the financial institutions about economic affairs, the lies told by the arms industry about the need for weapons and military support in other countries, the lies told by the insurance industry in its efforts to collect premiums but not fulfill obligations, and the lies of our elected representatives who protect the corporations that fund their power and lifestyles. The cumulative effect of the lies by our major corporations (e.g., VW) is that people are losing respect for the industries they support through their labor and consumption. I don’t think “Made in America” means what it did when I was a beginning consumer. Here are a few stories on divesting as a means to limit the power of our untrustworthy industries (http://garryrogers.com/?s=divest&submit=Search).

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    From Bloomberg, more background on the Anthropocene paper…………..

    Welcome to the Anthropocene: Five Signs Earth Is in a Man-Made Epoch

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-07/welcome-to-the-anthropocene-five-signs-earth-is-in-a-man-made-epoch

    Reply
  12. Bill H

     /  January 7, 2016

    Robert, for clairification, when you say that the leak has increased california’s GHG emissions for the year by 25%, are you referring to CO2 equivalent emissions?

    Reply
  13. JPL

     /  January 7, 2016

    This probably won’t embed right, but EDF has counter estimating the current size of the Porter Ranch release:
    https://www.edf.org/embed/methane-counters

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    2015 Brought Warmest, Wettest December on Record in U.S.

    December 2015 was both the warmest and wettest December on record in the contiguous United States, according to a report released Thursday by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The month capped a year in which every state in the Lower 48 was warmer than average.

    The December mean temperature over the contiguous U.S. of 38.6 degrees Fahrenheit topped the previous record warm December of 37.7 degrees set in 1939, according to NOAA/NCEI’s State of the Climate report. December 2015 was 6 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average. Temperature records for the Lower 48 as a whole date back to 1895.

    Twenty-nine states, including every state east of the Mississippi River, set record warm Decembers. Only the West featured near-average December temperatures. No state had a cooler-than-average December.

    http://www.weather.com/news/climate/news/record-warmest-wettest-december-us-2015

    Reply
    • bearingwitness

       /  January 8, 2016

      From the above aforementioned link:
      “December was the wettest month ever recorded in the UK, with almost double the rain falling than average, according to data released by the Met Office on Tuesday.

      Last month saw widespread flooding which continued into the new year, with 21 flood alerts in England and Wales and four in Scotland in force on Tuesday morning.

      The record for the warmest December in the UK was also smashed last month, with an average temperature of 7.9C, 4.1C higher than the long-term average.”

      Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    “The Idiocene”

    Reply
    • That about sums it up.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 7, 2016

      Typo “one container”

      One more thing about these tools of world trade . If they hit the ocean just right they float near the surface with the doors down , one sealed corner sticking just below the water line . If you have a sailboat , they’ll sink your ass as fast as an iceberg. And you can’t see them coming. We have no idea , how many of these things roam our oceans filled with sneakers, printers, and televisions.

      Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    More proof of the violence of the storms hitting Britain , remember the orange laundry bottles on the last thread .

    Storms cause starfish and jellyfish the size of DUSTBIN LIDS to wash up on UK beaches

    The severe stormy weather has been washing tens of thousands of dead starfish and jellyfish the size of dustbin lids on to beaches around Britain.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/632493/Storms-animals-Barrel-Jellyfish-Starfish

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 7, 2016

      When on container goes overboard –

      Reply
      • – EcoWatch:

        At EcoWatch, we’ve seen way too many atrocities on our oceans’ magnificent creatures due to human-caused activities.

        This time, an adult female killer whale named Lulu was found dead on Jan. 3 on the Scottish island of Tiree with deep lesions on her body. After a necropsy was performed, experts with the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme concluded that Lulu had been “chronically entangled” in abandoned fishing gear for several days and likely drowned from entanglement.

        Reply
    • Hmm. The fact that they’re washing up dead sounds like more than just storms. Another ocean health crisis may be in the works here.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 8, 2016

        DTL –
        Her tail is all chewed up , just like towing heavy fishing gear for days. I’ve never seen what dying in fishing gear looks like on this scale. I have seen it on the long line fishing.

        This what dying in 3/4 inch polypropylene rope looks like.

        Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  January 7, 2016

    “Hell in an a Bucket”

    Reply
    • Hell indeed. Most of the major geological turning points were market by mass extinction. We’re headed that way lightning quick if you’re thinking geological time scales.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 7, 2016

        CBS is doing a small report on your post.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 7, 2016

        Yes and the rock formations will have sneakers, pesticides, DVR’s, estrogens, raw logs, Bic lighters, Pampers (with human DNA), an entire layer of cigarette filters, tiny little chips coffee cups. and bales of cocaine sealed in them.
        All embedded in the U 239 layer.

        With very little sign of other life forms embedded in them.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 8, 2016

        Porter Ranch. It sucked

        Reply
  18. Abel Adamski

     /  January 7, 2016

    Here we go again, National Geographic etc
    http://fair.org/home/environmental-comic-strips-author-wants-global-warming-believers-to-get-real/

    The leading environmental-themed comic strip in the United States, Mark Trail, is apparently written by a climate-change denier.

    Mark Trail is syndicated by Hearst‘s King Features to some 175 newspapers. Allen took over the strip in 2014 after the retirement of Jack Elrod, who had been working on it since 1950. Under Elrod’s leadership, the strip was recognized for its contribution to environmental education, including by the US Forest Service, which named part of Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest the Mark Trail Wilderness in 1991.

    If Allen doesn’t want to squander that legacy, he should educate himself about the reality of catastrophic climate change—and humans’ contribution to it.

    Reply
  19. Michael E. Mann ‏@MichaelEMann 3h3 hours ago State College, PA

    MT The @WeatherChannel: Earliest #TropicalStorm on record in the central Pacific has just formed – #Pali

    Reply
  20. -Atlantic:
    NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 3h3 hours ago

    NHC issues special tropical weather outlook on #storm force low: 10% chance tropical cyclone formation next 48hrs

    Reply
    • NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 1h1 hour ago

      cant be overstated: regardless if transition occurs to tropical, very hazardous marine conds to persist next 48hrs

      Reply
    • Now that is an area I’ve been watching for a key subject post. SSTs are in the range of just barely what’s needed for a tropical system. And you keep getting this twist in the atmosphere down there. It’s been showing up for a week and a half. God we could get a tropical low in January…

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 8, 2016

        Tropical lows in the Atlantic and storms in the Pacific…in the beginning of January! Things have very clearly changed.

        Reply
        • It’s just absolutely crazy how much things have changed. And it looks like the off-shore US East Coast is in the process of becoming a new basin for storm formation.

  21. Colorado Bob

     /  January 8, 2016

    An Orca could not go where other whales go in the old Arctic, in the old climate . Bow Heads, Norawhales, Belugas. Their dorsal fin is too high. They can’t hold their breathe as long. Now there are pods of them leaving Icelandic waters to hunt the young of all these creatures . There’s NOVA on this. It’s a fact They are hunting Belugas has they birth. At very top of Canada. The Belugas have zero defense. This brand new for them .

    This whole winners and losers thing really stinks. I am really pulling for the Belugas. But the Oracs will eat every baby as the ice melts. And the Bow Heads, there is reason to believe some of them live to 200 years. Their killer whale plan doesn’t exist.

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  January 8, 2016

      Bob, do you know the main difference between us and the Orcas? We know (some of us) that we are sawing off the branch we are sitting on. What’s the same is we are both following our biological programming of rewards NOW. For all the capabilities of the neocortex, it appears the limbic system drives the bus………….over the cliff.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 8, 2016

        Apneaman

        Nature does give a rat’s fuzzy butt what we think.

        What I think is another matter. And at this point . I’m pretty sure my view is right.

        Insert smiley face here.

        Back to to the past , because no one see’s the future.

        We just guess at it .

        Reply
    • The ocean is full of amazing creatures. Orange Roughy are one of the reasons I went vegan. Couldn’t stand the idea of some poor heartbroken mate self starving in grief because I was eating seafood for dinner.

      Reply
      • Carole

         /  January 8, 2016

        There are many vegans on this site. Also many who chose not to have children. I one of them too.

        Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  January 8, 2016

    All our friends on the other side of the world seem to have hit a brick wall . They can’t breath, their water is is poisoned, their food is lost.

    This mindless capitalistic plan worked in Britain in the beginning , but it ended in 1952.
    They could not see 4 feet in front of their face.

    .

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 8, 2016

      New Hampshire is dying from hard drugs , watch the right’s answer , nothing .

      Let them die.

      Reply
      • – One could ask why so many are fleeing the reality of New Hampshire – or any community.
        Is the toxicity of hard drugs more tolerable? Or just easier to acquire?

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  January 8, 2016

        DT, causes generally cited are a jump in prescription of painkillers and economy not providing enough living-wage jobs. Not just NH, though–my impression is fairly widespread problem across Rust Belt.

        Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  January 8, 2016

    I have the bit in my teeth. I hate this jackassness since world began.

    Reply
  24. Andy in SD

     /  January 8, 2016

    “…natural gas is not toxic and … its odorant is harmless at the minute levels at which it is added to natural gas.”

    Well! I say we give the executives the opportunity to prove this point that they made (via lawyers). Lock them in their boardroom and pipe the gas right in. They can show us firsthand whether it is or isn’t toxic.

    Reply
  25. America’s Food System Could Be More Vulnerable to Climate Change Than We Thought

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/americas-food-system-could-be-more-vulnerable-climate-change-we-thought

    “A team of scientists from Canada and the United Kingdom compiled the first-ever global tally of how weather disasters over the past 50 years cut into production of staple cereals. After merging a database of global weather records with a UN record of country-level crop production, the researchers found that, as a rule of thumb, droughts and heat waves typically cut a country’s cereal production by 10 percent. That basically accords with predictions from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s predictions for agricultural vulnerability in the future.

    But unexpectedly, the researchers also found that the impacts were 8 to 11 percent more severe in developed countries than in developing ones.”

    Reply

  26. Reports of price-gouging, as Porter Ranch families look for temporary homes

    Thousands of families fleeing the Porter Ranch gas leak for temporary homes have got new problems: a low housing supply and sky-high rents.

    Some landlords in nearby Woodland Hills and Northridge have jacked up rents since the gas leak was discovered in late October in Aliso Canyon. One 4-bedroom home in Northridge is advertised on Craigslist for $8,500 as a ‘Huge Estate House Available, Perfect for Families Affected by Gas Leak.’

    Allen Brodetsky, president of Boutique Realty in Tarzana, said “where rental prices would normally go between $3,000 and $4,000, now landlords are asking six, seven, eight, nine thousand dollars— double, triple the rent of what it should be.”
    http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/01/07/56700/fears-of-price-gouging-as-porter-ranch-families-lo/

    Reply
    • LJR

       /  January 8, 2016

      What exactly SHOULD the rent be when a limited supply meets 2000 new renters? Would you want to rent to someone who is going to vacate along with the other 2000 as soon as the leak is capped? Think about it.

      Reply
  27. – Rising river levels USA.

    Navigating waterways a concern due to rising Mississippi River level

    NEW ORLEANS —Lately, all eyes have been on the Carrollton gauge, which measures the level of the mighty Mississippi River.

    But to those for whom the waterways are the highway, the gauge to watch sits under the Crescent City Connection.

    “The gauge monitors air draft for the ship, that’s from the river to the bridge,” said Matt Gresham, external affairs director for the Port of New Orleans. He further explains, “So the air gap (is) between the river and the bridge.”

    For ships, that’s a big deal.

    “It’s clearance for the ships to enter the port of New Orleans,” said Gresham.

    The Port of New Orleans is the biggest port complex in the world. And the river rise is impacting some of the biggest vessels on the water.

    Barge and ship traffic is typically higher during this time of the year due to the grain export season.

    Officials say increased river currents, fog and traffic on the water make decisions made by pilots even more critical. There’s less time for correction, and little margin of error when operating in a current this strong.

    “Along with the rising river, you also have silting that occurs on the bottom, and the contour of the river changes when the river is high,” said Gibbs. “So that becomes something that is a bit unpredictable. But as a Crescent Pilot, our primary focus is to facilitate the commerce…

    http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-orleans/navigating-waterways-a-concern-due-to-rising-mississippi-river-level/37321452

    Reply
  28. – “The actuarial sciences”

    Reinsurance Group Head Puts Science in Climate Change Discussion


    “Our industry is science based,” Nutter said [president of the Reinsurance Association of America] . “The actuarial sciences, and in this case the natural sciences.

    Nutter’s tone and words make it clear he doesn’t believe climate change should be considered a political matter.

    But as an industry advocate he’s often thrust into the political arena. He routinely calls for federal incentives to improve building codes and land use planning at state and local levels, steps he said will help the world prepare for increasingly frequent severe storms that many scientists believe will be caused by global warming.

    He and the RAA also engage in a constant push to get the the government to lend its expertise to improve forecasting.

    “We have called for better funding for NOAA and NASA so that the information flow about climate and weather is improved,” he said. “We have engaged in, and in fact are currently engaged in projects with NOAA to look at the impact that climate may be having on extreme events such as convective storms.”
    http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/01/07/394429.htm

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 8, 2016

      Many thanks for finding and sharing that news item, it is great to see Climate Changed well separated from politics in such a clear and concise statement. Too many view it as solely a political issue, and need reminding it is much more than this. I have shared it too.

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 8, 2016

      Munich re also reinforce the damaging nature of climate change, and keep valuable statistics through the years . . obviously it hits the business world of insurance, risk management and business continuity. Only think tanks and lobbyists try and obfusicate the issues.

      http://www.trust.org/item/20160104150909-ybpmx/?source=fiOtherNews2

      Reply
    • The National Flood Insurance Program is a good analogy to attempt pricing climate risk – in that the real-world projection is an unknown unknown as Donald Rumsfeld might say. It takes the backstop of the taxpaying public to put a band-aid over these inevitable disasters. Thinking of the Porter Ranch gas leak and similar infrastructure weaknesses upon increasing seismic activity – and on top of that gas industry bankruptcies – who can we expect will pick up the cost? Surely not the extraction industry. It will be taxpayers and the health and welfare of people most in harm’s way. Deepwater Horizon, Katrina, Superfund, Love Canal… We already know the true worth of fossil fuels are delusional.

      Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  January 8, 2016

    Andy in SD / January 8, 2016

    “…natural gas is not toxic and … its odorant is harmless at the minute levels at which it is added to natural gas.”

    That ain’t what is going on at Porter Ranch. At all.

    And thanks that’s for catching the lie. No one is adding a mercaptan into a volcano of gas.

    As for the H2S in gases coming from the Earth. Every drilling rig has wind sock. So you can run up wind. . If you can still run.

    The amount of this gas that will kill you is so tiny , you breath in rotten eggs. Your next breath you are dead. That’s why . Every drilling rig has wind sock.

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  January 8, 2016

      Amazing how stupid they think people are. Of course with a few purchased politicians, one can get away with anything.

      Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  January 8, 2016

      Perhaps the execs and lawyers were referring to themselves far away, yes when it leaks in Porter Ranch the gas is not poisoning them in San Fran, Newport Beach, New York etc…

      Reply
      • I suppose the gas isn’t a health impact if it’s not in my backyard? All that said, there’s a pretty amazing environmental legal response against SoCalGas right now. Sword cuts both ways.

        Reply
  30. – To “new geologic epoch, the “Anthropocene,” sometime circa 1945-1964.” referenced above – I would add a very steep ‘atmospheric epoch’ circa 1920 – 2016.

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  January 8, 2016

    I spent time on the floor. The entire rig would jump. That was a “gas kick”. We would keep drilling.

    We never ever stopped ever.

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  January 8, 2016

    You add denser mud. There is a drilling mud . that is the size of 10 lb. bag of sugar. It weights 50 lbs.
    If, this fails you are in deep shit.

    You cannot believe how heavy this stuff is. We killed a free flowing well. With this stuff. In Nevada.

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  January 8, 2016

    Reply
  34. redskylite

     /  January 8, 2016

    This event has scientists in disbelief – thinking that their own equipment is malfunctioning, on top of the Indonesia disasters, we are in a hurry to use up our theoretical limit. I understand that CH4 is short lived in comparison with the main long term (millenniums) danger CO2, but never the less it is a powerful GHG menace that eventually breaks down into other pollutive carbon substances.

    Q: What was your reaction to the numbers you were seeing on your first flight over the canyon?

    A: I thought something was wrong with the instruments. I thought they had stopped working because I’d never seen measurement that large before.
    UC Davis scientist key to measuring massive methane leak at Aliso Canyon

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article53629265.html

    Reply
  35. redskylite

     /  January 8, 2016

    Despite the change in management, Russia’s media still seems very measured and careful in reporting, in outlets such as Sputnik etc, maybe old habits die hard. Whilst the Siberian Times seems fearless in it’s voice. Another telling article in the ecology section. . . and a atmospheric photo of a resting polar bear . . . .

    Average temperatures in the north of the Kara and Barents seas were 4C to 5C higher than previous years.

    This startling increase comes as meteorologists say the negative consequences of this warning can be measured directly, with a rapid rise in deadly and destructive wild fires, for example. The Russian Hydrometeorological Centre say the the year 2015 in the Northern Hemisphere was the warmest since 1891 when the records began.

    The average annual temperature in 2015 for the first time in history exceeded the norm by 1C within the first ten months of the year. Compared with 2014, which was considered to be the warmest in the world, the rise average temperature of the Northern Hemisphere was 0.2C.

    . . . . .

    ‘For many billions of years of existence of our planet, of course, there were higher temperatures, and lower, but there has never happened such a rapid rise in temperature.

    ‘The planet and humanity can adapt to the evolutionary process. But now revolutionary changes are taking place.’

    http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/casestudy/features/f0202-siberian-arctic-leads-the-way-in-revolutionary-northern-hemisphere-warming/

    Reply
    • Looks like both US and Russia are seeing record temps this year then. Considering the strength of the new global record, we’re likely to have many more countries adding to the tally. And with El Nino looking like it’s going to hang on until at least late spring, 2016 may well be another record hot year as well. Pretty bad news, really.

      Reply
  36. redskylite

     /  January 8, 2016

    We have had a lot of wildfire news and incidents in the Northern Hemisphere during 2015, now the story moves over to the Southern Hemisphere in 2016. Yes they have often had them in the past, (I’ve driven through the aftermath). But (like extreme weather events) they just keep on getting more intense and uncontrollable. You just cannot dismiss the climate change affect.
    “You’ve got seasoned firefighters who’ve been around for many years saying they’ve never seen anything like it,” Mr Cowper said.

    “A big fireball came through and there was no way they were going to stop it.

    “This could well be the end of the town.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-35258692

    Reply
  37. Jean

     /  January 8, 2016

    The frackers in Oklahoma could cause a huge explosion when “The Big One” (earthquake) hits Cushing Okla,the Pipeline Capital of the World..Everyday,more and more quakes along the Arbuckle formation..http://www.tulsaworld.com/earthquakes/oklahoma-quakes-in–hour-period-could-foretell-stronger-temblor/article_92a5b28f-aa3f-534b-956d-1bcb9dfe5003.html

    Reply
    • Caroline

       /  January 8, 2016

      Jean—thanks for posting the link. NY times covered this today as well (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/08/us/earthquakes-in-oklahoma-raise-fears-of-a-big-one.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0)

      Yet another example of a preventable disaster that will unfold as a direct result of greed, corruption and political figures beholden to the oil & gas industry:

      It should be noted that Gov. Mary Fallin (R) agreed with this statement from the Oklahoma Geological Survey : “Oklahoma earthquakes are very unlikely to be naturally occurring and that the primary suspected source of triggered seismicity is from the injection/disposal of water associated with oil and gas production”.

      She then turned around and signed a a bill (in 6/15) that specifically prohibits cities or towns from banning operations such as drilling, fracking, water disposal, recovery operations or pipeline infrastructure—- in spite of fierce objections from municipalities and environmental groups.

      Reply
    • These fracking related quakes really worry me. Just just can’t help but wonder if it will trip some big, hidden, geological switch somewhere and these swarms of 4s and 5s blow up into something much worse.

      Reply
  38. My elderly, “once” reasonable woman has gone around the bend since the internet and the right wing emails she gets because she is a Republican voter. Over the years, I have seen her views become so “right wing” that I hardly recognize her. She just sent me a slick video from “Prager University”..with the co-founder of Greenpeace…spewing his garbage that climate change…is “natural” and has nothing to do with man.

    It is just so demoralizing when you see people in your life that are so ill informed and so ignorant that they believe whatever they see or hear without checking the sources of the information. I am surrounded in my life by these kinds of people. That is why I come here, for some kind of sanity. It is just so depressing when I can’t even get people I love to see what is going on….It makes me feel that there is no hope. I literally cried when I got her email…which in her memo line stated “Don’t let Obama tell you more lies about the climate”. 😦

    Reply
    • Greenpeace of course disowns him and their web site has a complete refutation of his statements.

      Reply
      • Yes, I know that…but my mother and I would imagine thousands like her…see “Greenpeace co-founder”…and without doing their research…believe the B.S. this guy is spewing. I guess that was the point I was trying to make. How once reasonable people are so easily manipulated by the garbage on the internet. They don’t do their due diligence when it comes to looking at the source of the information they are getting.
        I just find it so demoralizing. Instead of my mother..believing that what her daughter sends her is legitimate information…she counters with “right wing” denial propaganda. It just makes me despair. That is all.

        Reply
    • LJR

       /  January 8, 2016

      A good percentage of people have no capacity to think critically about much of anything. This is not a new phenomenon. The problems we face today were started by Aristotle. We hate science but we worship technology. Take a deep breath. Enjoy your day as much as you can.

      Reply
    • It’s really both sad and tragic. These people are preying on people’s fears and weaknesses. They find a little crack and then they work their way in. Hatred, fear, bigotry, but it’s all mainly just fear of change or fear of difference or fear of the ‘other.’ It’s probably the absolute most ugly aspect of the current age of conservative anti-think this exploitation of human weakness and the willful spreading of depravity. It makes me sad to watch it. As you say. These people are people we love. They are our friends, our family. It’s sad to see them make the choice to go blind.

      Reply
      • Thank you Robert for your wise words of comfort. This “conversion” of my mother to the dark side is personal..and has broken my heart.

        Reply
  39. Dear RS, Every other website I’ve read about the Porter Ranch leak on has stated that the well is a storage well. It is filled during the summer & drawn from in the winter. Originally, it was an oil well, & there are 300 such across America being reused for the same purpose. As of 11pm 1/09/16, a town meeting was held in which a proposal was made to burn some of the gas in a special ceramic chamber. SoCal agreed to do this. What is your opinion?

    Reply
    • My opinion, Judith, is that any reasonable mitigation to help deal with the Porter Ranch spill would be worthwhile. The industry should have never removed a cutoff valve on a well it was actively using for storage!! And, in the end, California and the rest of us should really, really be considering how soon we can replace the oil and gas industry with net zero carbon replacements. In my view, as rapidly as possible.

      And Judith, just so you know, I vet all new posters. So the delay in your post’s approval was due to it being put in queue.

      In any case, if you’re associated with the oil and gas industry and are here to defend them, then you can expect that future posts are likely to be taken down. I don’t consider the industry to be at all honest in its communications at this point.

      Best

      R

      Reply
  40. Caroline

     /  January 11, 2016

    I guess El Chapo /Sean Penn and Powerball are more important than the nation’s biggest environmental disaster since the BP oil spill.

    Why is this only getting marginal coverage in the media?
    Another important question to ask is:
    even if this did get massive coverage . . . . what to do about the ongoing crimes against the biosphere with new ones added every day?

    These are preventable crimes that are knowingly committed by the oil and gas industry and the politicians that are beholden to them. What do we do? Seriously—- what do those of us who care—- do?

    Excerpt from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-methane-gas-leak_568f004de4b0cad15e644090:

    “Catastrophe has never looked so peaceful and idyllic. But make no mistake — while imperceptible to the eye, a massive environmental disaster is unfolding”

    “It’s a nightmare, and one that smells like rotten eggs.
    The blowout has been compared to BP’s oil well failure in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which caused tremendous damage to the environment. But due to the invisibility of the gas, it’s more difficult to ascertain the true scale of the problem.”

    Sempra/SoCal should not only be held responsible for the damage to those that live in the vicinity but also for the global damage to the atmosphere which—–I think we would agree—- is more significant than the decreased property value of McMansions in gated communities!

    Reply
  1. The Carbon Bubble is Bursting — 2015 Was a Terrible Year to be Fossil Fuel Investor. Why 2016 Will Be Worse. | robertscribbler

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