May 30, 2020
Hundreds of California’s methane sources identified
SACRAMENTO – (INT) – Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat over a 100-year period.

New findings from a 2-year survey have pinpointed the sources, or so-called “super-emitters”, that are responsible for an outsized proportion of the total methane released into the atmosphere.

According to the findings, just 10 percent of the point sources were responsible for 60 percent of the total methane emissions detected. Researchers believe that statewide, these relatively few super emitters are responsible for about a third of California’s total methane emissions.

Landfills accounted for 41 percent of point source emissions, manure management accounted for 26 percent and oil and gas accounted for 26 percent.

The most startling finding, according to the California Air Resources Board, was that less than 0.2 percent of infrastructure in the state (based on a survey of 272,000 facilities and components) are responsible for 34-46 percent of total methane emissions in California.

Of the 270 landfills surveyed, only 30 were observed emitting large plumes of methane. Those 30, however, were responsible for 40 percent of the total point source emissions detected during the survey.

The oil and gas production sector also included large sources of methane. Most were concentrated in the southern San Joaquin Valley, the region that produces more oil than any other in the state. Los Angeles and Ventura Counties were next on the list.

To reduce methane’s impact on the climate, California has set a goal to cut overall emissions in the state by 40 percent from 2013 levels by 2030.

Story Date: November 23, 2019
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