California’s Makes U.S. History With Enormous Methane Leak

Natural gas infrastructure climate risks arise following methane leak.
California, gas leak, methane leak, Aliso Canyon
Photo by Flickr Creative Commons

Last fall, way up in the mountains, a well connected to the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility in California caused the biggest methane leak in U.S. history, according to Climate Central. An estimated 1,800 homes were forced to evacuate due to the catastrophic gas leak that emitted 97,100 tons of methane, which also equals to the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from 572,000 cars, as stated in a journal Science.

The leak didn’t cause a huge global climate impact, but “it showed that aging and degraded natural gas wells and pipelines in the U.S. could be at risk of emitting millions of tons of methane into the atmosphere, with significant implications,” according to Climate Central.

The study’s lead author Stephen Conley said:

If you look at it in the spectrum of all the individual (methane) sources, it’s a monster.

Methane is an extremely potent GHG that traps heat in the atmosphere, which is bad for human health and can cause global warming.

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