In what is being considered a major reversal of years of government policy, the EPA recently acknowledged the need to regulate greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming.
The EPA concluded that the continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions "endangers the public health and welfare of current and future generations." Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. And now the EPA has the impetus.
Landfills create methane, a potent greenhouse gas roughly 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. It turns out that capturing this methane is not particularly difficult. Some landfills are starting to either capture and use the gas for power generation, or to simply flare it, which converts the methane to carbon dioxide. Subsidies and carbon finance are chasing projects like these, since methane capture is accurately measurable, and relatively easy to do. Project developers are finding this an easy and lucrative way to create carbon credits.
Methane capture from dairy or pig farms is a pretty popular form of carbon offset these days. They sound good in theory - help a family farm capture pollution that we would normally breathe, and combust the gasses for use as fuel. Does it help the environment to capture these gasses? Sure. Is it measurable? Absolutely. But is it a good use of your money? We don't think so. And here's why.
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