Kevin Begos (I might have mentioned him previously) leads with a false statement about environmentalists being divided by the news on emissions. Then, as he always does, he provides a quote from a fringe source that supports his statement.
The new EPA data is “kind of an earthquake” in the debate over drilling, said Michael Shellenberger, the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental group based in Oakland, Calif. “This is great news for anybody concerned about the climate and strong proof that existing technologies can be deployed to reduce methane leaks.”
Who? The Breakthrough Institute? Did fracking’s Joe Camel give you their number?
Next, and again this is typical, he quotes a fracking Joe Camel. For future reference see: Resources for journalists who report on fracking. NOTE TO BEGOS: Just for the novelty of it, try writing something
were where you don’t use this type of source.
Let’s be very clear: the EPA estimates are ESTIMATES provided by industry not real measurements. (Begos did touch on this fact.) There is no information provided in the article for the emissions sources included in the estimates. Are emissions from every stage of production and delivery included? Doubt it.
We have ACTUAL measurements of methane released from gas production from NOAA that Begos could have cited but that would be more like real reporting.
Here’s what Begos said:
The scope of the EPA’s revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That’s about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.
Here’s what Begos missed:
The decrease in methane emissions due to EPA’s lowering some of its emission factors, is more than compensated for by the EPA now increasing the GWP of methane from 21 to 25: a 19% increase in climate changing impact. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-04-02/pdf/2013-06093.pdf
Remember my blogpost about GWP. The GWP for methane is actually 105 x when considered on a 20-year timeframe.
He also didn’t get a direct quote from the EPA, but he writes “The EPA said,” which personalizes what he writes without having to attribute the source to anyone specific. Begos routinely does this. If he is quoting from a press release or the executive summary, he should say so. I think I might have contacted the EPA for a direct quote with attribution and skip the Joe Camel quote.
Buried at the end of the article, which is again typical Begos, is the quote from a real scientist who studies climate change.
Also note that the EPA still says natural gas operations are the leading source of methane.
A more accurate headline for this Associated Press article would be:
EPA Methane Report Gives Opportunity for Groups that Deeply Disagree to Continue Disagreeing