Everyone remembers the BP Oil Spill in 2010. Nearly 5 billion barrels of oil gushed into the ocean — but now, six years later the U.S. is experiencing another massive fuel leak. Introducing: the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak.
Near Porter Ranch, in Southern California, a natural gas well has begun leaking extreme quantities of methane directly into the atmosphere. And that is real bad.
Methane has a GWP (global warming potential) of up to 50 for 20 years, meaning that it is 50 times more potent a greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide. Some organizations and studies put that number as high as 84. Fortunately overtime the methane decreases faster than CO2, but not soon enough for it not to do some serious damage.
I kind of gloss over this in the video, but a lot of people forget that what was particularly unique about the BP Oil Spill was the amount of methane also leaching out of the pipe in the ocean floor. I’m not going to get into the absorbtion rates of methane in the Ocean — but even if up to 40% of the leakage was methane — this new leak in California might still be worse for our overall global atmosphere.