Methane isn’t just some trivial thing in the big picture: an increasing number of human studies are pointing out it may be the mechanism for climate “tipping points” which have been previously unexplained. That’s because methane can exist as a gas or sequestered in ice on the Earth’s surface, and huge amounts can become stored, as living materials anaerobically degrade. A small change in temperature may, over the long term, release huge amounts back into the atmosphere, which would raise the temperature farther, which would release more methane, and so on in an accelerating positive feedback. There are enormous amounts of methane now stored in arctic tundra which has started to melt; and in vast undersea beds of “clathrates” – methane ice – which can melt with changes in temperature or pressure. While CO2 might be the trigger, methane may function as the bullet. Increasing data now points to methane as the possible “smoking gun” of the Paleocene -Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), in which Earth temperatures jumped far higher than current CO2 models can explain, to levels which would – if they recurred – pretty much be the end of human civilization once the first domino in the string is tipped, as models show it could be at a roughly rise of two degrees Celsius. You know, the two degrees Celsius that few now believe will be achieved.... The summary above states that extraction leaks “can and must be remedied”. However, as an observer of humankind, I know that does not mean that they WILL be remedied. Your societies are designed to obey money signals only, and natural gas is currently cheap. Too cheap. The availability of large quantities is not good news for humanity long-term, and unless you acquire and use it wisely, perhaps not even short-term.
The Bottom Line: Natural gas – an important bridge, but to what destination?
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