Methane mendacity – and madness

Radical green and government agitators slam methane in latest bid to terminate fossil fuel use

cowsQuick: What is 17 cents out of $100,000? If you said 0.00017%, you win the jackpot.

That number, by sheer coincidence, is also the percentage of methane in Earth’s atmosphere. That’s a trivial amount, you say: 1.7 parts per million. There’s three times more helium and 230 times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. You’re absolutely right, again.

Equally relevant, only 19% of that global methane comes from oil, natural gas, and coal production and use. Fully 33% comes from agriculture: 12% from rice growing and 21% from meat production. Still more comes from landfills and sewage treatment (11%) and burning wood and animal dung (8%). The remaining 29% comes from natural sources: oceans, wetlands, termites, forest fires, and volcanoes.

The manmade portions are different for the U.S.: 39% energy use, 36% livestock, 18% landfills, and 8% sewage treatment and other sources. But it’s still a piddling contribution to a trivial amount in the air.

Of course, the Obama EPA and Climate Cataclysm Industry ignore these inconvenient facts. They nutsinsist that methane is “a far more potent greenhouse gas” than carbon dioxide, and that its emissions must be drastically reduced if we are to avoid “runaway global warming.” So EPA and other federal agencies are preparing to unleash a tsunami of new regulations to block natural gas drilling, fracking, flaring, and production, while radical environmentalists orchestrate new assaults on petrochemical plants that create plastics, paints, fabrics, computer and vehicle components, and countless other products for modern life.

They want us to believe that government regulators can decree Earth’s climate simply by controlling methane and carbon dioxide – regardless of what the sun, ocean circulation, recurrent planetary temperature cycles, and other powerful natural forces might do. They say it’s pure coincidence that these two trace gases (CH4 and CO2) are the only climate-affecting mechanisms that are associated with the fossil fuels and industrialized economies they despise.

cauldronThey also want us to believe reducing U.S. methane emissions will make a huge difference. But even if U.S. manmade methane emissions are 20% of the worldwide total, the 39% U.S. fossil fuel portion of that U.S. portion means even totally eliminating U.S. methane emissions would reduce global manmade methane output by a minuscule 7.8%. Under a best-case scenario, that might keep atmospheric methane below a still irrelevant 0.00020% (2.0 ppm; 20 cents out of $100,000) for a few more years.

This smells like fraud. And as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman so kindly reminded the climate skeptics he’s threatening with RICO, “The First Amendment does not give anyone the right to commit fraud.”

Perhaps the EPA plans to go after America’s agricultural sector next. After all, as former UN Secretary hatemeatGeneral Kofi Annan intoned last year, red meat is bad for us (cancer) and for the climate (animal flatulence and manure). Moreover, “insects have a very good conversion rate from feed to meat,” there are 1,900 species of edible insects on Planet Earth, and more than a billion people already make bugs part of their diet. Perhaps the IPCC and White House will serve roasted roaches at their next state dinners?

That would reduce U.S. methane emissions a bit more. But it gets even more deceitful, more barking mad.

The un-ratified 2015 Paris climate treaty obligates the United States, Australia, Canada, and Europe to continue reducing their fossil fuel use and emissions – even though they can hardly afford to kill more millions of jobs and further roll back living standards for all but their ruling elites.

Meanwhile, developing countries will not and cannot afford to lock up their fossil fuels, shut down their economic growth, and leave billions of people mired in poverty, malnutrition, and disease. Indeed, under the Paris treaty, they are not required to reduce their fossil fuel use or “greenhouse gas” emissions; they need only take voluntary steps to reduce them, when it is convenient for them to do so.

That means slashing U.S. methane (and carbon dioxide) emissions – and the jobs, living standards, health and welfare that fossil fuels bring – will have no effect whatsoever on atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.

bannedineuropeBut that is irrelevant to Mr. Obama and his EPA. The fact is, this methane mendacity and madness has nothing to do with stabilizing Earth’s climate. It has everything to do with hogtying and bankrupting U.S fossil fuel companies, controlling industrial activities and people’s living standards – and mandating a costly transition to renewable energy, while rewarding the hordes of scientists, activists, and industrialists who benefit from the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Crisis, Inc., money train.

That raises a critical question: Just where and how will we produce those “eco-friendly” biofuels?

U.S. ethanol production alone requires all the corn grown on an area the size of Iowa (36 million acres), and it makes up only 10% of the country’s E10 gasoline blends. Replacing all gasoline with ethanol from corn, sorghum, or still-illusory switchgrass would therefore require ten Iowas: 360 million acres. But there is one other critical factor: Ethanol has one-third less energy per gallon than pure gasoline.

That means we would need to plant an additional 120 million acres, 480 million acres in all, just to replace gasoline. That’s equal to Alaska, California, and West Virginia combined!

cornReplacing all the liquid petroleum we use annually (291 billion gallons) would require twice as much land – some 45% of all the land in the United States: six times more land than we currently have under cultivation for all cereal crops – plowing even marginal croplands, deserts, forests, and grasslands.

We’d also need far more fuel to grow, harvest, and convert those crops into “eco-friendly” fuel. That would likely mean turning southern Canada into a vast biofuel plantation – unless, of course, the ruling classes simply impose lower living standards and vehicle ownership restrictions on us commoners.

Growing biofuel crops also requires hundreds of times more water than is needed to conduct hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations to produce the same amount of energy from oil and gas, on a tiny fraction of the acreage. Where on this water-starved planet will that precious liquid come from?

Biofuel crops also require prodigious amounts of fertilizer and pesticides. And if organic and anti-GMO factions have their way, far more land would be needed, pest control would be minimal or done by hand, and fertilizer would come from human wastes and animal manure – raising even more complex issues.

To put it bluntly, a biofuel future would be totally and disastrously unsustainable.

windmillsThere’s another deep, dark secret about biofuels. Somebody needs to tell Obama, McCarthy, Clinton, Sanders, and their army of “green” supporters that biofuels are hydrocarbons! They are composed of carbon and hydrogen, though in less complex molecular structures than what we pull out of the ground – which means we get less energy per gallon. And when we burn them, they release carbon dioxide!

We have at least a century of untapped oil and natural gas (and of coal) right under our feet. To lock that up, based on unproven, illusory, fabricated, fraudulent climate chaos claims, is utter insanity.

Even crazier, most anti-fossil-fuel zealots also oppose nuclear and hydroelectric power – and want future electricity generated primarily or solely with wind turbines and solar panels. To blanket our scenic, crop and wildlife lands with wind farms, solar installations and biofuel plantations – and destroy economies, jobs, living standards, health and welfare in the process – is nothing short of criminal.

President Obama and presidential candidates Clinton and Sanders assure us we can have 30% renewables by 2030, 50% by 2050, 100% by 2100 – or some similar magic, catchy, sound bite concoction.

Voters should demand to know exactly how they will make this happen. If they cannot or will not answer satisfactorily, a strong case can be made for the proposition that they are too ignorant and dishonest to hold office – and that their supporters are too stupid and anti-environment to vote.

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

  • GRAMPA

    We now see another attempt to expand the power and control of government. this time it is Methane. The latest bogeyman that has arisen from the swamp of information with the blame laying on the shoulders of mankind..They list numerous sources that the government sponsored scientists and the carefully constructed data that attempts to resurrect the global warming panic. with the help of the media government uses this in another attempt to expand its powers and gain another toehold in the efforts to “save the planet”. I am reaching if I expect any to think that I am a source of reliable information, but will try to use history and facts easily verified.Methane is a gas created from the breakdown of plant and animal material. I will adress each claim as well as I can. First the cow flatulence. or farts for those like myself who don’t usually handle this area. This is easily verified when it happens for it gives one fair warning with an audible signal that it approaches. After the event while it is hard to tell which cow was responsible the Oder is enough to tell you the event happened. Now to the meat of the claim!!! with raising the cow and pig and chickens the agencies that study this have said that we have increased many thousands of times the output we had when our nation was young. If we look at the cow itself and say this was an increase of cows I would agree, If we look at the type of animal it is I say NO.. .The animal is bovine and eats grass and grain. It breaks down the fiber to digest its food. In doing this it creates methane.In the attempt to shorten this I will say that we have records that state that sharp shooters were hired to provide the food for the men needed to build the railroads The accounts from many who were witness said they spread out as far as the eye could see. The estimates were in the millions. They produced the same farts as the cow of today. The pig and its numbers have increased. along with the chicken. Another large source is the termite. Man has no reason to have this pest and its destructive to man at least around. It is natures way of recycling the elements back around to be reused. Otherwise they would be locked up and an imbalance would cause great damage to the planet. If the termite doesent recycle the material from the dead plant life it decomposes naturaly and the results are seen and bubbles rising up in the water. We cannot see it when discharged into the air. The waste we accumulate is no different for it must decompose to be reused. This is one of the true problems for man has created things that take far too long to decompose. This poses a bigger problem than the gas. If this is a larger problem why doesn’t government address it? It is harder for government to present a crisis event that will happen many thousands of years down the road. They cannot point to something that is happening and the citizen can point to it and see it giving themselves any problems. Weather happens. It with the help of media can show the events as they happen. They also can show a constructed version but the people are not aware of this. As long as it ha the desired effect the people have no desire to check the facts. All this rhetoric points to one thing. Our government will go to great lengths to show the people that they are here to help.
    Then comes the explanation for they must pass laws that restrict the production of this destructive “greenhouse” gas. If they don’t take action quickly our planet is doomed..
    How the laws that are passed will work is never clear. The only thing they demand quick action. We can see the demands come from every point of humans destroying the planet. The facts are carefully shown and if not looked at seem to prove what they say is correct. I have looked at government actions and in my seventy five years have had time to compare what they say matches the facts. It doesn’t. What I have concluded is the ruling class has only one goal and it has nothing to do with saving the earth. Power and control. we have the most corrupt government we have ever had. They use any and all tactics and the thinnest reasons to pass yet another law and expand and create another agency that turns the citizen into a felonious subject..
    The proofs Of what I have said are out there and if I tried to put them all down this book I have written would be much longer. i do apologize for the length for my poor skills at writing dont allow me to explain myself with any brevity. Thank you for your understanding.
    Grampa

    • Capitano Calitri

      Wow, a whole lot of misinformation from the same corrupt polluting corporations that made money off the ISIS igniting Iraqi war. I find it sad that certain Americans don’t believe in paving the way for industry to be cleaner. All they do is point at what other countries get away with too. As if fracking doesn’t poison our waters, and Gmo’s and hormones are okay in our foods. And that corn would be our only form of fuel. And that smog isn’t already causing direct health issues to people in major cities. I can feel the air hurt my lungs when I’m in LA or Mexico city. I can also see the smog. It’s before our eyes. Who do you trust, big industry or pro earth scientists (a.k.a. the little guy?) Who has the greater agenda for corruption?

      • GRAMPA

        I can see your concerns and are and should be the concern of every American.. The problem is that we must act and react carefully so we do not do as much harm with regulations than the actual problems. While we do have corporations that need to be controlled we must take care for government will use the reason for control to expand its power over the citizen. I am a contractor and have been effected by these regulations that cost me profits and my customers money. The regulations I speak of requires me to have employees that are union members or I cannot bid on them. My employees make higher wages than the union ones and enjou better medical benafits. or did untill obama care. for now a 19 year old male must carry coverage for mamagrams ovarian cancer and everything the normal female needs.
        WHY? But it sure costs my customers more. As Americans we all need answers. and growing up in Detroit We also had the worst air for decades. We were able to get it cleaned up. LA is different in that it lays in a basin that stops the air flow needed to remove the pollution. Unless a way is found to remove the output entirely the smallest will accumulate.

        What is needed is determined but cool heads that provide the control and ability to guide others and government.
        I know you are upset for I can see this but also see someone who can make a difference if you put your mind to it. Convince others but to control government. our corporations control government and that is our job. We want a land we can live in lets do it.
        Grampa

    • Brin Jenkins

      I understand, and 17cents in 100.00 dollars is a great way of explaining.

  • Dano2

    Using this…erm…”logic”, the author can up the dose of their meds from 7 to 10 mg without ill effects.

    Let us know how that works out for you!

    Best,

    D

    • Brin Jenkins

      What convoluted thinking? at 17cents in $100.000 I don’t suppose even a bank would bother to show much concern if it rose to 34 cents. Do you nit pick and count paper clips in your work place?

      • Dano2

        Deep thoughts.

        Best,

        D

    • Marcuso8

      ..Nice math genius !! That would be a 40% increase..

      • Dano2

        Thanks, smartie boots! That’s roughly the increase of man-made CO2 in the atmosphere.

        Best,

        D

  • Li D

    ” roll back living standards ”
    Hahahahahahaha.
    I remember the show Good Times.
    It portrayed a poor American family.
    And man did they live well.
    Education. Potable water. Nice clothes. Good food. Very good housing. Very fine
    furnishings.
    I liked that JJ bloke. Funny.

    Stupid rich yanks wouldnt have a freaking
    clue about living standards.
    I bet the author is so exeedingly wealthy
    he has a special little house for his motorcar to live in.

    I understand why you try to teach
    various cretins here dano2, but they
    are so incredibly unreceptive to education
    that methinks you just wasting your time.
    It a strange psychology to be purposfully
    ignorant like most posters here seem to be.
    Good on you anyway your medicine analogy. Its quite apt.
    Li D Australia

  • Alex Bannon

    According to this article,
    he remaining 29% comes from natural sources 29% of methane in the air is caused by nature. That means 71% of methane in the air is man made. Isn’t that what the scientists are saying? That humans are causing “green house gasses”? Doesn’t this article establish that? I agree that making the oil companies “bogeymen” is unhelpful. But in 2005, they said that it would get hotter and it has gotten hotter. They said the sea levels would rise and they have risen. When does an accurate prediction of future events change from dumb luck to an accurate prediction?

  • Mnestheus

    Has Driesen tried adding 1.7 parts per million of india ink to his swimming pool and leasuring the temperature on the 4th of July ?

    • Brin Jenkins

      Methane is pretty innocuous at that concentration much as most poisons. Indian ink might enhance your tan a little though, when did you try it?

  • Sigh, this essay contains two of my pet peeves.

    Paul’s argument essentially says trace gases are unimportant because there’s so little of the gas is the big one. While I agree that conceivable levels of CH4 have a very minor effect on climate, that has nothing to do with it being a trace gas.

    I usually use carbon monoxide as a counter example, it’s both well known and is a close relative of carbon dioxide. Current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are bout 400 ppm, that level of CO may not kill you overnight, but it will make you sick.

    Let’s drop the “it’s just a trace gas” handwave. It’s wrong and alienates the user from people understand why trace gases can be important. (And keep in mind that first 100 ppm of CO2 had a lot more impact than the last 100 ppm.)

  • The other pet peeve comes after a discussion about the biofuel ethanol:

    “There’s another deep, dark secret about biofuels. Somebody needs to tell
    Obama, McCarthy, Clinton, Sanders, and their army of “green” supporters
    that biofuels are hydrocarbons! They are composed of carbon and hydrogen….”

    Ethanol, and any other alcohol, includes oxygen. Alcohols have a “hydroxyl group”, which is an oxygen and an hydrogen, that is attached to one of the carbons. You can call it an organic chemical. I suppose you can call it a hydrocarbon, but please don’t in my presence.