‘Fixing methane leaks is plumbing, not rocket science’
PODCAST: With special guest Jonathan Banks, international director, methane at the Clean Air Task Force
“Right now, today, the technology exists to reduce methane emissions by roughly 75%. I always say, ‘this is plumbing, not rocket science’. We’re not talking about creating some insanely innovative solution, we’re talking about basic maintenance, good practices and looking for leaks on a regular basis — and fixing them.”
Listen again to Jonathan Banks, international director at the Clean Air Task Force, talking on last night’s podcast about why tackling oil and gas methane emissions should be an easy win — and why it has so far proven to be anything but.
Jonathan was candid about the many barriers — big and small, local and global — that must be overcome. He told some stories from his time out in the field detecting leaks that made my jaw drop 😲 (see highlights below).
Despite the lack of progress to date, Jonathan remains infectiously optimistic that the stars are aligning around rapid and impactful progress. This is thanks to a combination of increased visibility of the problem — via new satellites, drones and infrared cameras — and a groundswell of political momentum post-COP26.
This episode is essential listening if want to hear a ‘warts and all’ account of where the world stands on one of the most frustrating yet promising climate and energy challenges of our age.
We overcame technical glitches at the beginning of the call to get into the weeds of regulatory loopholes, global methane diplomacy and leak detection technology — and ended up running much longer than planned (55 minutes!):
If you just want the highlights, I’ve got you covered:
‘Making the problem visible is the first step to fixing it’ — 0m 35s
‘The climate benefits of tackling methane are vast and immediate’ — 1m 44s
‘Plugging methane leaks is not rocket science, it’s plumbing and planning’ — 1m 03s
‘Overcoming weird obstacles to progress’ — 0m 56s
‘Polluters can’t hide from satellites and drones’ — 1m 09
‘Pledges must be acted on, otherwise what’s the point?’ — 1m 01s
‘The EU must confront the methane footprint of its imported oil and gas’ — 2m 02
‘We caught an LNG terminal in Italy venting methane to avoid breaching anti-flaring rules’ — 1m 43s
‘UK government needs to break open silos and make real progress by COP27’ — 2m 07s
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