Fugitive methane emissions in BC: correspondence with Ministry of Environment

An email discussion with environmental journalist Stephen Leahy prompted me to look into the amount of fugitive methane emissions from the natural gas industry in NE British Columbia.  The data on various BC Government websites are not easy to reconcile, so, on March 18th  2013,  I wrote an enquiry on the query form provided at the website of the BC Ministry of Environment.

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Global Warming: Not Reversible, But Stoppable

Originally posted at Skeptical Science

Let’s start with two skill-testing questions:

1. If we stop greenhouse gas emissions, won’t the climate naturally go back to the way it was before?

2. Isn’t there “warming in the pipeline” that will continue to heat up the planet no matter what we do?

The correct answer to both questions is “no”.

Global warming is not reversible but it is stoppable.

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Terminology: Tar Sands or Oil Sands?

Generally speaking, people who are opposed to the extraction of bitumen in NE Alberta prefer to refer to the sands as “tar sands”. The oil companies and the governments of Alberta and Canada prefer the sound of “oil sands”.   “Bitumen sands” is in some ways more correct, but it’s a mouthful and not everybody will know what you are talking about. The one thing that everyone seems to agree upon is that “oil sands” sounds cleaner and nicer than “tar sands”.

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