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The EPA is undercounting methane pollution by 77 percent

Blowing up our bridges to the future


I guess I’m naïve, but I really thought it would have been a bigger deal when the International Energy Agency found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been undercounting U.S. energy-sector methane pollution by nearly 80 percent. Not surprisingly, that cancels out all the purported climate benefits of switching electricity production from coal to natural gas.1

In fairness, Russia invaded Ukraine the day after the IEA report dropped, so I can see why this didn’t get too much attention. However, the oil and gas industry are claiming the invasion means we have to drill baby drill, and the Senate Energy Committee found time to attack FERC for regulating methane pollution. So I think there’s capacity to discuss this report and its shattering implications, which include the need for the United States to shut down the fracking boom as fast as humanly possible.

The EPA is now accepting comments on its 2022 greenhouse pollution inventory until March 22nd — I recommend you drop them a note.

This Week on the Hill: While the Russian invasion of Ukraine is naturally the top agenda item, Congressional work proceeds apace.

All on Tuesday: a hearing on federal climate resilience with NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad and other federal officials, and one on the manufacture and deployment of electric vehicles and EV chargers. Also, former Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, now at USDA, testifies on rural development; Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) holds an all-male, all-corporate lobbyist panel on our nation’s railroads; at House Natural Resources, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) chairs a panel in the morning on tribal land dispossession and tribal co-management of federal lands and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) in the afternoon on the Klamath River Basin.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is chairing a hearing on the growing calls to Daylight Saving Time, which has been justified on energy-use claims that don’t hold up to scrutiny; and the House Climate Crisis committee holds a hearing on equitable climate resilience with scientists Bill Solecki, Lauren Alexander Augustine, and Lara Hansen.

And on Thursday our friend Joe Manchin is chairing a hearing about how our response to the Russian invasion should be to drill for more oil and gas (and maybe coal, huh?).

JERBS: Climate Cabinet, which helps downballot candidates win on climate, is seeking a communications director ($70K-$90K). The Alaska Wilderness League would also like to find a communications director ($85K+). The Department of Energy is seeking an executive director for the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation ($178K-$204K). And I can’t not mention that Zoom is hiring a sustainability and ESG program manager (no salary listed).

Naomi Klein has the last word:

If BP can walk away from a 20 percent stake in a Russian oil major, what investment cannot be abandoned if it is premised on the destruction of a habitable planet?

Climate Action Today:

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1. Furthermore, the U.S. EPA calculates the effect of methane on global warming by using its impact over 100 years, which is about 30 times that of CO2, instead of more scientifically defensible dynamic measures that take into account methane’s 20-year impact, which is 86 times that of CO2.

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