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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2021
     
    From IPCC6, due out Monday, some new perspectives and surprising new 'facts' to affect policy:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/06/reduce-methane-or-face-climate-catastrophe-scientists-warn

    1) Methane reductions are probably the only way of staving off temperature rises of 1.5C ... “Cutting methane is the biggest opportunity to slow warming between now and 2040". “We need to see at Cop26 a recognition of this problem, that we need to do something on this”.

    2) Cutting methane could balance the impact of phasing out coal ... coal use has a perverse climate effect: the particles of sulphur it produces shield the Earth from some warming by deflecting some sunlight. That means the immediate effect of cutting coal use could be to increase warming, although protecting the Earth in the medium and long term ... cutting methane could offset that.

    3) “Today more than 40% of EU gas is methane-heavy gas from Russia, which is worse than coal for the climate”.

    4) Governments to consider crafting a new deal, alongside the Paris agreement, that would cover methane and require countries to sharply reduce their gas. “I predict we will have to have a global methane agreement”.

    5) Large-scale emissions from permafrost melting are thought to be still some way off, while emissions of methane from agriculture and industry can be tackled today.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2021
     
    Interesting/Alarming.

    Background to point 3 below:

    Satellite data shows that some of the key sources of methane are poorly managed Russian oil and gas wells. Gas can be extracted from conventional drilling using modern techniques that all but eliminate “fugitive” or accidental methane emissions. But while countries such as Qatar take care over methane, Russia, which is a party to the 2015 Paris climate agreement but has made little effort to cut its emissions, has some of the leakiest infrastructure.

    “Today more than 40% of EU gas is methane heavy gas from Russia, which is worse than coal for the climate,”...
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2021
     
    So China continuing to burn coal may not be the devil incarnate? Whilst Russia remains the evil twin?
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2021
     
    Hopefully a more nuanced version will be in IPCC6 on Monday. China is much more likely to come round at the last moment, than Russia (?).
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2021
     
    Is there some breakdowns on the sources of Methane?

    Posted By: fostertom“Today more than 40% of EU gas is methane-heavy gas from Russia, which is worse than coal for the climate”
    That won't be a problem when Russia switches off the supply :bigsmile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2021
     
    That's an interesting situation - Russia's threat/leverage over Europe, but also Russia's fear that Europe will stop buying - possibly the latter sooner that anyone imagines, depending how it goes at CoP26, and on how things are implimented thereafter. What would Russia do then?
  1.  
    Methane-heavy natural gas, eh? That sounds really bad.

    Sounds like all that dihydrogen-oxide in the water that you get from [insert bogeymen country here, according to your readers' prejudice]...
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenMethane-heavy natural gas, eh?
    Why not? I admit I thought I'd learned that 'natural gas' was pure methane, but was a bit surprised - would have expected a mixture of methane, butane, propane etc in varying proportions from different sources. So Russian may be 'methane-heavy'.

    Now my question is - is methane a stronger GHG than butane, propane etc? I haven't found the answer. If so, wd be worse than the others - but 'worse than coal'? - considering its calorific value at least includes some oxidisation to harmless dihydrogen-oxide as well as to CO2, while coal is entirely (?) to CO2.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2021
     
    I too was initially surprised by the notion of “methane-heavy natural gas”, because natural gas is primarily methane, but after a bit of reflection I think they meant natural gas which comes from sources with more leaks (i.e., poor handling once it's out of the ground).

    Posted By: fostertombut 'worse than coal'?
    Maybe, if the sources of natural gas are leaking more greenhouse effect in the form of unburned methane than the greenhouse effect of the carbon dioxide from burning coal.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2021 edited
     
    So it should have read 'methane-leak-heavy gas from Russia, which is worse than coal for the climate'. I'll agree that.

    I wonder if anyone else got sent on a red-herring chase by that?!
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2021
     
    Posted By: fostertomSo it should have read 'methane-leak-heavy gas


    +1
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2021 edited
     
    Seems that natural gas does include substantial proportions of ethane, propane and butane as well as methane, varying depending on source/origin https://www.croftsystems.net/oil-gas-blog/natural-gas-composition and of these, at least propane has negligible GHG/GWP compared to methane, as propane oxidises very rapidly (to 'relatively' harmless CO2) whereas methane persists unoxidised (GHG/GWP 25x that of CO2) for years https://www.arb.ca.gov/lists/aqipfuels08/8-perc_ghg_full_report.pdf .

    So at the well-head, 'methane-heavy' natural gas has higher (worse) GHG/GWP, if carelessly released. However it then gets processed to remove the other hydrocarbons (sold separately as LNG) so that as delivered natural gas is standardised to almost pure methane.
  2.  
    The UK has reduced GHG emissions by half since 1990 and a good chunk of that came from reducing methane emissions. Partly that was from forcing industries to clamp down on methane leaks, which seems like an obvious/easy route for other countries to follow.

    Partly it was from reducing landfill sites' emissions (ditto)

    A good chunk of our methane reduction came from shutting down the coal industry. Underground coal naturally has methane adsorbed in it, which is released when it is mined (>mine explosions). Is not clear if the "methane worse than coal" comparisons include for the coal releasing its methane while it is stockpiled waiting to be burned.


    The discussion that I'm surprised not to see here, is that methane is a relatively short-lived GHG. The methane released today will be gone in 10years, which is nothing in geological time, whereas some of the CO2 released today will still be around in 10-100,000years. To me, the worst feature of CC is is that our CO2 emissions will affect hundreds of generations of our descendants.

    It's obviously important to focus on methane *as well as* CO2 but the title and content of this thread imply focus *instead of* on CO2. Acute versus chronic problems.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2021
     
    The long-term challenge contains a prime urgency to majorly reduce GHGs (more precisely GWP) in the short-term - in fact on that same rolling 10yr timeframe as methane's lifetime. I don't see 'instead of' - rather, clearly bringing to awareness an early easy win to pursue under a separate, additional treaty, like the ozone treaty.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2021
     
    There's a good discussion of methane and other greenhouse gases and their GWP numbers etc on the US EPA site

    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials
    https://www.epa.gov/gmi/importance-methane
    et al

    "Because methane is both a powerful greenhouse gas and short-lived compared to carbon dioxide, achieving significant reductions would have a rapid and significant effect on atmospheric warming potential."

    "Why aren’t efforts to capture and profitably use methane emissions more widespread?

    "Despite multiple benefits, methane recovery is not widespread for several reasons.

    "1 Methane is generally a secondary byproduct in the industrial processes from which it is emitted. Coal mines, for example, seek to vent methane from the mine workings because it can cause explosions. Historically, mining companies have not viewed the associated methane as an energy resource in its own right.

    "2 Those responsible for the emissions may not be familiar with the technologies available for methane recovery or the potential for profitable recovery projects. This is especially true in developing countries where improved access to information and technical training would be beneficial to generating support for methane recovery projects.

    "3 Poorly functioning energy markets and financially insolvent utilities and municipalities within many countries fail to provide the private sector with a climate that will attract their investment in projects to capture and utilize methane."

    I think the point is that methane is more important than has been appreciated in many circles and therefore more attention should be focussed on it. I don't think there's any idea we should be reducing efforts on CO2 and other gases though.

    As long as methane continues to be emitted, it doesn't matter whether it is relatively short lived.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2021
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/17/us-and-eu-pledge-30-cut-in-methane-emissions-to-limit-global-heating

    "Boris Johnson said the UK would be one of the first to join the US-EU methane pledge, when it opens for more signatories at Cop26"
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2021
     
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2021 edited
     
    That is so good and clear.

    The Guardian article says "If adopted around the world, this would reduce global heating by 0.2C by the 2040s, compared with likely temperature rises by then". Does that sound credible?
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2021
     
    I can't find the “If adopted around the world…” text in the Guardian article - has the article been edited or did it come from something linked from there?

    Still, depending on what's meant to be adopted that seems to me broadly compatible with:

    Posted By: Gavin SchmidtThis implies that if you convert the impacts of each set of emissions into temperatures, as was done in the IPCC AR6 report, you get about 0.75ºC from the changes in CO2 and 0.5ºC for CH4 (from the late 19th C, see figure below) or 1ºC and 0.6ºC, respectively, from 1750. Thus despite the smaller concentrations and changes in methane compared to carbon dioxide, the impacts are comparable.
    Remember, though, that it would be a one-off reduction. If CH₄ emissions are reduced then, over a decade or so, the temperature drops compared with what it would otherwise have done then continues to climb as a result of CO₂ accumulation.
  3.  
    Also interesting

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-a-new-way-to-assess-global-warming-potential-of-short-lived-pollutants

    "The de facto way of converting non-CO2 emissions to CO2e is to multiply the gas by its GWP100 (global warming potential over 100 years). The value of GWP100 for methane (CH4) from the last IPCC assessment report is 28. This means that methane has 28 times as much “global warming potential” as CO2, so 1Gt CH4 equates to 28 GtCO2e.

    This masks the fact that 1 GtCH4 has a strong warming influence when it is first emitted, which then diminishes rapidly over a few decades. This is because chemical reactions cause it to be removed from the atmosphere, with a half life of about a decade. So, at the end of that 100 years, that methane is no longer causing strong warming, because it has almost all been destroyed.

    By comparison, a 28Gt “equivalent” emission of CO2 would effectively persist in the atmosphere for centuries or longer, continuing to cause warming at almost the same rate as when it was first released. This shows how the two emissions are not really equivalent, which has important consequences if GWP100 is applied to future emissions scenarios inappropriately."

    "GWP* is better suited than GWP100 to .... assess the relative merits of different options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which could be misrepresented if GWP100 were used”
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