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Measuring Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

  • Member since 2013
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  • Nov 22, 2022

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Many of the papers I have written about climate change attempt to quantify various effects of this human-made modification of the world’s climate. Since all of the world’s people share an atmosphere, it is really difficult to measure where greenhouse gases (GHG) are coming from. In the past couple of years I have written a three part series on new technologies that can define individual sources.

One of my primary sources is Science Magazine, and the November 4 issue had an excellent editorial by Al Gore that alerted me to a major new development that globally identifies GHG emissions sources. I’ve excerpted this editorial in Section 2 of this post. Section 3 will delve into the new organization that defines GHG sources and review their website, which I also reference.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 22, 2022

Accurate and consistent measurement is so important, both for the science of it and for accountability as regulations and incentives come into play

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Nov 22, 2022

Thanks for the comment, Matt. 

Yes, it is. Going forward, if we can't accurately measure GHG emissions, we stand absolutely no chance of controlling them. Not that this will be easy with accurate measurement, but at least it will be possible.


Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Nov 27, 2022

Thanks for bringing news of this very significant development to our attention. 
Already, massive under reporting  of GHG emissions from oilfield activities, including and especially from the Permian Basin and the Gulf of Mexico, have been exposed. 

As you say:

«…if we can't accurately measure GHG emissions, we stand absolutely no chance of controlling them.»

The oil industry, including the Texas Railroad Commission, which is supposed to regulate the industry in Texas, has dragged its feet for years on accurate reporting of GHG emissions from venting, flaring and leaks. It is no surprise that emissions have been under reported for years. The result is that actual methane emissions negate, by far, the reduction of total GHG emissions, as CO2, saved by switching from coal to Permian Basin and GOM gas for power generation.

TRACE will provide finer granularity of data for GHG emissions sites as the system is further developed. I do hope that the quality of the data from TRACE can be fully substantiated and consensus can be reached on how and how much to mandate reductions and penalties for non-compliance.  

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Nov 30, 2022

Thanks for the positive comments, Mark.

I'm from West Texas and graduated (BSEE) from Texas Tech in Lubbock. This is one of the reasons the first site I zoomed in on when I went into TRACE was the Permian Oil/Gas Field.

I was in California when I was in the Army (Vietnam era), and promptly moved back here (SF Bay Area) when I graduated, shortly thereafter followed by my brother and parents.


John Benson's picture
Thank John for the Post!
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