The Methane Scam

One of alarmists’ favorite lies is that “methane is 30 times worse than CO2

This is complete BS. Methane’s absorption bands almost completely overlap with H2O, and methane concentrations in the atmosphere are very low.  CH4 quickly oxidizes and disappears from the atmosphere, so there can never be a lot of methane in a warm atmosphere with a large concentration of O2.

Methane contributes almost nothing to Earth’s greenhouse effect.

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28 Responses to The Methane Scam

  1. tom0mason says:

    As methane has been about since the earliest days of life on the planet, so it is crass intellectual stupidity not to believe that nature has many processes to substantially, and safely, deal with it.
    Once again it is the hubris of too many foolish people that think only man can mitigate for methane’s effects within nature’s biosphere.

    • _Jim says:

      re: tom0mason June 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm
      As methane has been about since the earliest days of life on the planet, …

      A safe assumption to take is that your average CAGW supporter has the educational level of a 3rd grader on these subjects. Education, therefore, is key.


  2. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    The other irony, if you look at the CH4 graph, is that it plateaued….until the US invented fracking. Then it started rising again.

    Which has dropped US CO2 emissions by 20% or so.

    Meanwhile in all the time the temperature trend has been flat as a rolled green lawn.

    • Ernest Bush says:

      The temperature trend has been down for a long time. Notice Steve’s graph in one of the other close-by topics. In reality, it’s been going downward for the last 10,000 years. Each warming period has been cooler and shorter over that time.

  3. kbray in california says:


    As you gain wider recognition, you’re making a worldwide impact that lures in the “Skeptic” critics to your blog…

    Congratulations and Good Work !!

  4. Bob Knows says:

    Alarmists are never going to let science get in the way of fear. Most of their sheeple never learned to understand the world around them.

  5. CB says:

    So much Methane removed by man when will filled in bogs, and drained swamps. We should be thankful to have it back!

  6. SMS says:

    Prior to drilling for oil and gas, both products were leaked into the atmosphere in great quantities naturally. Early oil seeps were used to grease the wheels of the wagons moving west.
    These natural leaks were good clues as to where oil and gas might be found and are where drilling first took place. Once drilling develops a field, the pressure of the reservoir is lowered as the field matures to the point where the natural leak slows or stops. During the early development of oil drilling in the US, gas had no value and was vented off as the oil was produced. If a gas reservoir was drilled into, the well might be abandoned as having no value, or the gas vented to capture what condensate might be available. As gas started developing value a gas pipeline infrastructure was developed. In the US, gas has value and if the infrastructure is available (which in most cases is true) will be captured and sold and not vented or flared. Where this infrastructure does not exist, gas associated with oil may still be vented/flared. This occurs mostly in developing countries.

    Here in the US there may be a little gas vented during the initial completion process of the well as the gas is flared and allowed to clean up to meet pipeline quality requirements. Oil companies are not interested in wasting gas if it has value and as a result are anxious to get the gas in the pipeline.

    If anyone is interested in slowing the rate of Methane into the atmosphere, raise the price of natural gas to some obscene value. Profit rules the day. It won’t matter as far as AGW is concerned, we can see that in the spectral band chart and half life calculation, but it will make a difference in the amount of gas entering the atmosphere. The greens will be happy and my oil company stocks will climb in value.

  7. tom0mason says:

    Strange but everywhere they look they find methane eating bateria, I wonder if they increase in number when more methane is available, seems likely. –

    Oxidation of CH4 in soil by the methane-oxidizing
    bacteria (methanotrophs) currently removes 30 Tg annually
    from the atmosphere, which equals 5.4% of the global CH4
    sink (IPCC 2007), and therefore play a critical role in the
    mitigation of global warming. Methanotrophs are widely
    distribute in various environments (e.g., McDonald et al.
    2008; Op den Camp et al. 2009; Semrau et al. 2010), such as
    in paddy soils (Bodelier et al. 2000; Zheng et al. 2008), forest
    soils (Mohanty et al. 2007; Kolb 2009), landfill soils (Chen et
    al. 2007; Einola et al. 2007; Semrau 2011), grassland soils
    (Zhou et al. 2008; Abell et al. 2009), oil field soil (Zhang et
    al. 2010), and extreme thermoacidophilic environments
    (Dunfield et al. 2007; Pol et al. 2007; Islam et al. 2008).

    from ‘Methanotrophic community structure and activity under warming and grazing of alpine meadow
    on the Tibetan Plateau’ by Yong Zheng & Wei Yang & Xiang Sun & Shi-Ping Wang & Yi-Chao Rui & Cai-Yun Luo & Liang-Dong Guo

    Click to access Methanotrophic%20community%20structure%20and%20activity%20under%20warming%20and%20grazing%20of%20alpine%20meadow%20on%20the%20Tibetan%20Plateau.pdf

  8. Olaf Koenders says:

    If CH4 is some 23x as “greenhouse” as CO2, then the piddling amount of CH4 in the atmosphere represents only 42ppm CO2. Zero impact essentially. But, since it overlaps H2O absorbtion bands, it means even less.

  9. Steve Case says:

    The reason methane is deemed 20 times more powerful than CO2 is because there isn’t much of it in the atmosphere. What that means is it doesn’t take very much to double the concentration. So whatever methane’s climate sensitivity is, the doubling is reached after a very small increase.

    I looked this up some time ago, it was a long search, and I wish I had a link.

  10. Steve Case says:

    Here’s a link and text

    The answer is that people are comparing the end of the CO2 curve in the above graph (at 380 ppm), to the very start of the CH4 curve (at 1.8 ppm). Because of the logarithmic behavior, clearly the one with lower concentration will be “better” when you add a little bit more. This behavior arises because of the “saturation” effect on principle absorption bands. The strongly absorbing part of the spectrum is not yet depleted for methane, while for carbon dioxide you’re adding absoprtion in relatively weak regions. Under modern concentrations, introducing a few parts per million of each gas would indeed favor methane in terms of “forcing effect” by almost a factor of 30.

  11. BobW in NC says:

    Ernest, Steve Case – thank you!

  12. Bob Knows says:

    If there had ever been any actual scientific demonstration that any of these gasses had ever caused any planet to heat up, the chicken littles would have a lot more credibility.

  13. Steve Case says:

    Here’s what we’re spending our tax dollars on:

    “Feds Research Breeding Methane-Emitting Sheep”

    Then there’s this:

    Multiply that by all the shallow mucky water in the world and then ask the question of why we’re worried about the emissions from domestic animals.

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