How corporate greed caused the massive California methane leak

The Daily Take Team

If you don't live on the West Coast of the United States, you might not have heard about the massive gas well leak that's been venting natural gas into the atmosphere at a rate of more than 100,000 pounds per hour for more than two months.

Infrared video that the Environmental Defense Fund captured in December shows that the natural gas is billowing like a volcano just above Burbank, California, on a hilltop in the Aliso Canyon area.

That video was taken over a month after the leak started on October 23, after the well had already ejected an estimated 80,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

For perspective, 80,000 tons of methane is equal to about a quarter of what the entire state of California - which is the eighth largest economy in the entire world - emitted between October 23 and November 20 in 2015.

And methane, which is what's mostly in "natural gas," is actually a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 in the short term, during the first 20 years it's in the atmosphere it can be up to 80-times more potent than CO2.

According to The Washington Post, the impact of the gases that have already been released from this one volcanic leak are equivalent to the impact, over 20 years, of six coal-fired power plants - or 7 million automobiles.