Why Methane is CO2’s Evil Stepsister (and Why We Should Care)

1 140

global warming climate change earth

Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas that gets tossed around in most climate change conversations.

But methane (CH4) is making its way into the mainstream spotlight.

Thawing permafrost in the northern hemisphere will lead to relatively more methane than carbon dioxide emissions, which could lead to more serious climate impacts than previously thought, a study said. – See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/04/09/melting-permafrost-will-release-more-methane-study/#sthash.UXCf2GvK.dpuf

Here are some things that are happening:

Climate change is warming up areas that were typically cold enough for permafrost. Permafrost—soil that’s frozen year round and comprises 24 percent of Northern Hemisphere land (8.8 millions square miles)—is no longer “perma.”

Some permafrost that’s been frozen for tens, even hundreds of thousands of years is thawing (i.e., no longer so frosty).

277 billion tonnes of carbon are contained in the peatlands in the permafrost zone of the Northern Hemisphere. That’s equivalent to 1,017 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). Guess where that’s gonna end up  when thawing occurs?

But… thawing and decomposing permafrost will lead to relatively more methane than carbon dioxide emissions, which could lead to more serious climate impacts than previously thought, a study said.

To top it off, a newly discovered microbe happens to thrive in thawing permafrost, blooming like algal blooms. Methane is a byproduct of its metabolism. Oops! This new microbe stuff is adding fuel to the fire and, one could say, the microbe’s booming and blooming lifestyle is indirectly caused by humans (hey—we’re the ones who started throwing all those extra greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which has thrown off climate cycles according to 97 percent of climate scientists).

Methane is also released in heavy doses from factory farms in the form of cow belches and flatulence.

And it’s emitted in the production and transport of coal, natural gas and oil… not to mention the anaerobic decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills. Garbage in, garbage out.

So what’s all the “evil stepsister” name-calling of poor old methane?

Why is methane such a big deal for climate change?

Globally, over 60 percent of total methane emissions come from human activities. Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities. We’re the enabler here.

Methane — a more powerful greenhouse gas — is 33 times more effective in heating the Earth than carbon dioxide. Need I say more?

Listen to the latest Green Divas myEARTH360 Report for more on methane and other environmental news.

Bonus video about permafrost:

Catch more Green Divas myEARTH360 Reports on iHeartRADIO.

On Google+? CLICK HERE to add us to your circles!

About the author / 

Green Diva Lynn

Lynn Hasselberger is The Green Divas Managing Editor and Associate Producer of the GD Radio Show. She lives in Chicagoland with her son, husband and two cats. She loves sunrises, running, yoga, chocolate, and NYR, and has a voracious appetite for comedy. In her spare time, she blogs at myEARTH360.com and LynnHasselberger.com. A treehugger and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr & @myEARTH360) and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking.

Related Posts

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current ye@r *

green divas peace out meditation series subscription/giveaway banner link

Yekra Player

Yekra is a revolutionary new distribution network for feature films.

Cafeteria Man

“All across America, school food is undergoing a major transformation to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic — but not without opposition and challenges. CAFETERIA MAN provides an inspiring, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to bring fresher, healthier food to the millions of kids in our nation’s schools. The film follows nationally-recognized chef Tony Geraci as he works to revamp school food programs that feed thousands of students in two big city districts — Baltimore and Memphis. Responding to the pleas of Baltimore students who were fed-up with terrible school lunches, Geraci was hired to replace pre-plated foods with tastier, more nutritious meals. But he didn’t stop there. To help students develop a better appreciation for healthier foods, he also established a model 33 acre teaching farm, brought in more locally sourced produce, and initiated student-designed meals. CAFETERIA MAN shows that it is possible to feed our nation’s students healthier, more nutritious meals, and provides inspiration and ideas to win the fight for better school food.

With appearances by First Lady Michelle Obama, noted food author Michael Pollan, White House Chef Sam Kass. "

green divas radio show on iheart radio
green divas myearth360 report on iheart radio
green divas foodie-philes on iheart radio
green divas green dudes on iheart radio
GVK by green divas on iheart radio
green divas on stitcher

Yekra Player

Yekra is a revolutionary new distribution network for feature films.

Occupy Love

Join acclaimed director Velcrow Ripper (Scared Sacred, Fierce Light) on a journey deep inside the revolution of the heart that is erupting around the planet, as he asks the question, “How could the crisis we are facing become a love story?”

Occupy Love explores the growing realization that the dominant system of power is failing to provide us with health, happiness or meaning. The old paradigm that concentrates wealth, founded on the greed of the few, is causing economic and ecological collapse. The resulting crisis has become the catalyst for a profound awakening:  millions of people are deciding that enough is enough –  the time has come to create a new world, a world that works for all life.

The film connects the dots in this era of rapidly evolving social change, featuring captivating insider scenes from the Egyptian Revolution, the Indignado uprising in Spain, Occupy Wall Street in New York, the environmental movement and beyond. Woven throughout the action oriented backbone of the film is a deep exploration of public love, and compelling stories of an emerging new paradigm. It features some of the world’s key visionaries on alternative systems of economics, sustainability, and empathy, including Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Jeremy Rifkin, and bell hooks.

Occupy Love is a moving, transformative, heartfelt film, featuring Ripper’s signature stunning visuals and rich soundscapes. A powerful cinematic experience leaves viewers inspired.

Share Green with the Green Divas

like what you see here? share some green to help the Green Diva team - we are very grateful for all your generous support!

Spambot blocker question

8 - 5 =

btn_itunes

btn_itunes

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected
Contact Us link

don't miss a GD thing!

Get all the latest GD news . . .

  • Green Divas myEARTH360 Reports
  • Green Divas Foodie-Phile Recipes
  • Green Divas DIY Tutorials
  • Green Dude Stuff
  • . . .
  • your email is safe with us!