When momentum starts to build, people like to exclaim, “Now we’re cooking with gas!” Well, a recent study out of Stanford University might have us re-thinking that expression. The study found that methane leaking from stoves inside U.S. homes has the same climate impact as about half a million gasoline-powered cars and, furthermore, that these stoves expose household members to respiratory disease-triggering pollutants. Findings like these are prompting some jurisdictions, like the US’s largest urban center, New York City, to ban gas hook-ups in new buildings. Keep in mind that approximately 2000 new buildings are erected there each year. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with Eric Lebel, part of the Stanford research team that conducted the study, to learn more about their methods and findings. We discuss the impact that America’s 40 million gas stoves might be having on the air we breathe (both inside and out of our homes), how to transition away from these types of appliances, and why in many ways it’s an environmental justice issue.Read the show transcript
How far into the future should we be planning when it comes to the environment? 20 years? 100 years? These are vital questions with which scientists, politicians and futurists are grappling, as our icecaps melt and our seas rise. This week on Sea Change Radio, we delve into the moral dilemma policymakers face today with Daniel Kirk-Davidoff, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland. The starting point for our conversation is a soon-to-be-published paper comparing the timescale of methane versus CO2 emissions. We touch upon the science of these two greenhouse gasses, examine how long-term environmental planning and short-term planning might conflict, and try to better understand what 100 years really means.
Along with the Affordable Care Act, the Clean Power Plan may end up being one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. We learned recently, though, about the US Supreme Court’s potential role in determining the fate of the plan. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with two journalists who have been covering other aspects of the plan. First, Mother Jones journalist Tim McDonnell joins us to talk about methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that is not targeted in the Clean Power Plan or the Paris Agreement, and whose emissions from the oil and gas industry are largely unknown. We discuss the Aliso Canyon leak, efforts to monitor methane, and how much of the methane problem is cows. Then, Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson provides a who’s who in the efforts to obstruct the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.