Maybe California should do a few more of these flights before finding something else to ban?
Whatever individuals can do to reduce inefficiency and carbon footprint is surely a good thing; but it's no replacement for systems thinking, and applying incentives on the production side (IMO, best accomplished by setting a price on externalities, through Pigovian taxes and dividends ).
Just to frame things as someone alive at the time in one part of America… single serving glass bottles were not returned to the store, they had no deposit. They were thrown away. Beer cans had no deposit. They were thrown away. (Steel soda cans weren't a thing, they stayed in bottles until aluminum came around) Fast-food cups were waxed paper. Straws were paper. The lids were plastic.
Companies were up front about controlling littering, using their brand loyalty to achieve it. McDonalds even had a "we don't like to see our name thrown around like this" campaign showing a clearly branded paper bag in a ditch.
Most roadside litter was steel beer cans, glass bottles (many broken), paper wrappers and bags. Any picnic area would have beer can pull tabs all over the place. It was actually an effort to retrain people to put the tab into the can so it eventually got thrown away instead of just tossing it where the barefoot children played. Coors introduced a special beer top which had a big hole and a little hole to jab your fingers through so there wouldn't be a beer tab to deal with! Eventually the aluminum lid with no loose parts was developed, but that was a decade after the anti littering campaigns.
It's taken half a century, but now most people don't chuck garbage out their car windows. Some people do. Some areas of the country are much worse than others. If you think littering isn't a thing, then it probably isn't where you live. But, there are areas where the roadside ditches are still full of fresh litter.
This article talks a little more about what I think the op was speaking to: https://theintercept.com/2019/10/18/coca-cola-recycling-plas...
Which was then a choking hazard. C.f., https://www.passenpowell.com/potential-child-safety-hazard-s... and also in pop-culture: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0570625/
Really? That's just what Big Garbage wants you to think. You're obviously a shill in the pay of the National Trash Association.
 Transcript: https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?stor...
Proper landfill design & operation ensures the landfill is aerated, which keeps decomposition primarily aerobic which produces little methane. A poorly designed or operated landfill with little aeration will switch to aerobic metabolism, which is what produces large quantities of methane.
If everyone went zero waste then nothing would be added to the landfill, and its methane production would taper out to nothing as a result.
From the top charts for image search "landfill gas chart", suggests methane(CH4) vents heavily for 3-5 years, then a long taper.
Consumers do have some power, but they are not the only ones and we should demand an effort from all parts of society there.
On the other hand, I doubt it is plastic waste that produce methane, an organic byproduct. Maybe food wastes are at fault. In which case your enemy is not overpackaging and may actually be your (temporary) ally
The rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere come from burning hydrocarbons which originate from below the earth's surface, where they were not part of the carbon cycle for millions of years. Burning faster than natural sequestration below the surface is reaponsible for the overall rise.
All else being equal, methane has a stronger greenhouse effect, but breaks down, unlike CO2 which is only sequestered by plants.
As I said elsewhere in this post, you can cut emission but population growth offsets all the benefits. You cannot address climate change without drastic long term reduction in human activity/population.
Of course you can. You must change activities to be carbon neutral, but you can maintain the same level of comfort you have today. More than "can maintain", you "must".
If you rely on sacrifice from the whole planetary population in order to tackle climate change, we are doomed. It will never happen, as it goes against the competitive nature of humans.
The correct path is forward: innovate, so that carbon neutral forms of energy and materials are better than carbon-emitting versions. Energy is an almost solved problem, using this vector. Let's attack materials now.
Completely disagree. Reducing waste, recycling waste, and re-using waste are some of the ways to address climate change. Saying modifying human activity/population is the only way to solve a problem is as extreme as saying climate change isn't real.
> No business is out there emitting methane for shits and giggles.
No one says this, you're reducing the broader point to a poor cliff-note. The point is that the incentives for businesses to better address their waste are not there. If all one gets for managing waste responsibly is a higher bill every month and a good feeling in their stomach, why would a proper capitalist businessperson do that in the short term?
My point was that the "capitalist" is not running that production line in isolation, it is the end consumer demand that drives that pipeline. So yes consumer demand is the ultimate source of all this.
Carbon tax is but a first step but it is necessary as it will force the actors to take action. As you correctly pointed out they have no "incentive" to do so right now.
I can have the exactly same
lifestyle in Saudi, in USA and in France, yet per capita emissions in France are 3 times lower than those in USA, and 5 times lower than in Saudi.
People in Saudi do not have 5 times better lives. In fact a huge chunk of the population is an underclass, some work as slaves on construction sites.
Competent management and regulation matters, a lot.
Of course this doesn't work for the US, because French nuclear (and HSR) depend on their dirigiste government--which has totally different assumptions about distribution of political power.
Edited to add: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirigisme
with the following quote: "...marked by volontarisme, the belief that difficulties (e.g. postwar devastation, lack of natural resources) could be overcome through willpower and ingenuity. For instance, following the 1973 energy crisis, the saying "In France we don't have oil, but we have ideas" was coined. Volontarisme emphasized modernization, resulting in a variety of ambitious state plans. Examples of this trend include the extensive use of nuclear energy (close to 80% of French electrical consumption), the Minitel, an early online system for the masses, and the TGV, a high-speed rail network."
We are not there yet though: intermittence (and to some extent construction speed) still favor nuclear power but maybe not for that long.
If you asked the typical person who's extremely concerned about climate change where we should invest money, they'll answer wind and solar far more likely than nuclear. There are people who advocate for nuclear as the solution, sure, but they're in the minority. Often they're people who don't seem especially concerned about climate change.
In Australia, when they briefly brought in a carbon tax, a dairy that complained before it was introduced, started capturing their methane and using it for power and installed solar. They ended up thinking it was a good thing just as it was repealed.
Nothing that I've said contradicts your point that management and regulation matter.
You're subscribing to an either/or dichotomy which is false. Consumers demand drives emission. The fix is to enforce heavy regulation on the producers which will ultimately result in lower demand through increased cost.
CO2 emissions are only ONE of the environmental challenges we're dealing with. We're resource bound in other ways, and regular ol' pollution of the environment is a huge concern which sometimes run contrary to CO2 emission. Meaning you can have a technology that reduces CO2 emission in production, so you consume more and throw away more. That is good for climate change but still bad for the planet.
It is true that as a consumer, I can try to regulate my demand to reflect how I feel about those facilities' emissions.
At the time time, saying that consumers control those facilities seems to imply that the owners and operators bear no responsiblity for their emissions and are not empowered to change them.
Instead, the industry should make these decisions for me. It already does, by deciding which products to build, and how. Set tariffs, taxes, penalties, and let producers figure out how to most optimally make money in that environment. That's their core expertise - it's not my core expertise.
We don't expect consumers to be medical experts. We have doctors for that. Why should we expect consumers to also be experts in the long tail of 'various ways that producers screw up our environment'?
At the current rate of 1.2% that's only ~18 years.
Given that emission controls are a whole lot easier to implement than eliminating a huge portion of the world's population, I'd say it's a more realistic goal to pursue.
But I do suggest people advocating it join the front of the queue.
You'd need a 33% growth in population to offset a 25% reduction in pollution, 100% growth to offset a 50% reduction, and so on.
Of course all water use (like pollution) is driven by consumer demand, but the point is a lot of effort seems to be spent on silly things that have little impact when there are much easier targets.
Caveat: the water situation is a lot more complex than I laid it out here.
If I consume 50% less dairy products, for instance, it will cause a noticeable negative impact on my life.
The impact it will have on the environment will not be at all noticeable. (and it wouldn't be noticeable if it were multiplied by tens of thousands)
It isn't realistic to expect change by relying on consumers to negatively impact themselves for some unmeasurable positive.
On the other hand, it is not at all unrealistic to have those same consumers vote for regulation. The amount it increases the cost of dairy products would likely be outweighed by the positive impact on the environment. It works because the impact of action on themselves, both negative and positive, are divided up by all the people.
I don't see why these two can't be done in parallel.
Some states(US) cap landfills with large sheets of plastic (the new ones have plastic on the bottom, making a "giant bag") and punch holes for venting methane and other exhaust gasses. They vent because the gas is flammable and having it build up under a sheet of plastic is risky. Landfills catch on fire frequently. 
Some sites collect the gas and burn it, but it isn't common.
You can see the venting tubes on this photo of liner repair after lightning strike...
Map of composting facilities in California: https://www.biocycle.net/2018/03/12/california-composting/
We can speculate what punnerud meant, but I would point out that Norway has some kind of a landfill ban. IIUC, they have (almost) no classical mixed-use landfills, and nearly all landfilled organic waste is actually in an anaerobic digestion or composting "facility".
Why is parent comment saying Norway captures the methane for electricity generation while you're going we need to vent the methane because it's dangerous.
Same gas. Same landfill setup (by the sounds of it).
...why is the conclusion so different?
Does methane work differently in Norway?
Either way, it has to be collected and burned off.
If value is applied to the degradation and GHG abatement, some groups might find it worthwhile.
There very well may be, but adding pipes to burn off excess methane is way easier than generating and transporting electricity.
If you eliminated all gasoline cars tomorrow, there isn’t enough infrastructure to support electrics. When cars first came out, you didn’t have to convince people to use them by taxing horses: cars were more efficient than horses.
You don’t have to artificially make something worse to encourage something better. The something better should just naturally be better, making a switch obvious.
If you use energy efficient appliances, you save money on your utilities. Given the same quality, more efficient (and lower cost) is always preferred and a rational actor will choose the lower cost option that solves his need at the level he wants it solved.
That “green” stuff is more expensive is an engineering problem. If someone develops an electric car that costs the same or less than an ICE car and has the same or better performance and quality, people will naturally buy them — and the company that can do that stands to win big. But making everything else worse/more expensive to prop up tech that isn’t as good or affordable is trading what’s best for the individual for what’s best for the owners/employees of the less efficient producer.
I am in favor of government funded basic science, research, innovation (it brought us NASA after all,) however I oppose funding that by the selective targeting of industries in order to artificially boost the viability of a new tech. We didn’t have to kill horses to get people into cars. We won’t have to kill ICE cars to get people into better alternatives. We are already producing less CO2 emissions and the relevant tech is already getting cheaper and better. The market is slowly working and it didn’t take a tax to do it. And when it comes to markets, slow is good; it minimizes the negative effects of economic reallocation.
The way carbon tax is implemented in Canada is to return the tax to folks at the end of the year, keeping none of it, but correcting that imbalance.
A carbon tax would not eliminate all petrol cars tomorrow, would it? It would increase the price of fuel, which would encourage some to make their next vehicle an EV in place of ICE. It would inevitably encourage cities and petrol stations to add EV infrastructure too.
Not entirely sure how the US taxes vehicles, but personally I would put some combination of fuel (carbon) tax, increasing monthly well in excess of inflation and a vehicle tax that cost some combination of vehicle weight and emissions. The combination effect of which would be to discourage ICE, pickups and 4x4s whilst encouraging smaller EVs.
Many landfills do harvest methane from the combined heap of trash. However, after methane production ends we are still left with compost with tons of plastic.
Overall result is many homeowners now have a plastic wheelie bin they never use any more, and organic waste goes in the landfill bin. Putting us in a worse place than before we started.
Tory party is busy promoting how environmental they are in their electioneering ...
(This was new to me until I talked with one of the managers at the plant one year ago)
As other comments in this thread have pointed out, people are resistant to "fixing" their waste stream. I think this is a serious lack of personal responsibility. There is nothing about consumption that absolves the consumer of proper disposal. Sure, we want local government to make it as easy and efficient as possible, but best practices are leaning toward sorting, and I think every person has to step up to the practice.
That is also common for US landfills.
Beyond that, its likely is a permanent mark against the air-frame which makes it basically impossible to resell. Including the fact it might have added an additional inspection interval at the strut attachment points. Might even have ended up as an experimental cert due to not conforming to the type any longer.
Also, i'm not so sure there is a lot of formal engineering going into a mod like this on a GA plane. More likely someone has a rough set of parameters for air-frame shear/etc stress and a quick calculation said that the additional stress at 120MPH and landing shock was a small percentage of the total.
> Landfills accounted for 41% of the source emissions it identified, manure management 26% and oil and gas operations 26%.
i.e. perhaps the best reason to recycle or compost is to avoid the methane emissions from natural decomposition.
Doesn't smell great over there, but it sure is interesting and pretty smart!
Uhhh, I think you may want to rethink that. Rotting things, whether in a landfill or in your ecologically principled compost heap in your back yard releases methane.
It boggles me that people emotionally or tribally react to a fact about how chemistry works, google things which support their emotional reaction, and ... don't read what was in their citation.
> Decomposing organic material in anaerobic conditions — by microbes in the absence of oxygen — releases methane into the atmosphere. Anaerobic fermentation is common in landfill and open stockpiles such as manure piles [azernik: Manure piles are the second big contributor to methane emissions listed in OP.]
The second one just refers to "anaerobic decomposition".
In both cases this is something they mention as the alternative to composting, i.e. they literally define composting by its use of aerobic decomposition methods.
And yes, I agree that this is a complicated biochemical process that should be done by professionals in dedicated facilities (EDIT: which is where most composting happens in California), not in people's backyards. Where did you hear me arguing for amateur backyard piles?
A little methane from the back yard is still better than landfill. But the math for commercial composting vs amateur might need some scrutiny. Transport to the composting facility should also be part of the arithmetic there.
0:"Here's Why We Can't Just Throw Our Garbage Into the Sun" https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a19666/we-cant-just-t...
For example (I have no idea how competent the product is): https://www.homebiogas.com/Products/HomeBiogas2
For most people this would be a novelty, maybe you could run an outdoor grill off of it.
544 sites account for 46% of the state's emissions.
Yet the article states, "A handful of operations are responsible for the vast majority of methane emissions."
Sounds like "a handful" to me. In as much as a metaphorical measurement can be accurate..
Extremely disproportionate, but not a vast majority.
The 0.2% is however good, in the sense that, it's probably easier/more efficient to make a few hundred huge changes instead of a hundred thousand small ones.
Mountain View Shoreline (right behind Google HQ) used to be a landfill site for 3 decades before being turned into a park. Plenty of families visit it for the nature walks, kiddie play areas and water activities. Then few weeks back I heard a bang and hissing; a methane release valve opened https://youtu.be/kq3CnXU5OtU
I don’t know if this is normal for it to be so low but since then I’ve learnt the whole area has these to stop it from combusting. Methane is also a dirty gas that affects cognition.
Add to this the SuperFund sites water & land pollution and one has to question what the heck is going on here.
It gives a whole new perspective on how we are killing our earth hoping the problem will be solved by someone else in the future :(
Is the problem here that the trash is breaking down, or it's breaking down in a suboptimal way (such as anaerobic activity) that's causing methane to be released instead of a more benign gas?
I'm surprised to not see any reference to the Aliso Canyon leak in this thread yet:
For example: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/meet-the-satellit...
In Madison, WI,  they create enough power to offset all the energy the county operations use, plus create CNG for their heavy equipment at the landfill to run on.
It also takes care of the plastic problem, since it burns the plastic very cleanly.
My university had a big methane line run from a landfill 2 towns over and used it in the cogen plant to generate power and steam for heat.
And you can recover the methane from them, what requires a small investment, and has a low, but positive ROI.
Obviously not a small problem to solve. I think if the gov started identifying and fining these emitters, they would invest more into these types of solutions.
Maybe all of us HN readers should write a note to Gov Newsom?
If I wanted, I could request the compost back - but I don't have any use for it and would rather other consumers get a bit extra.
I pay ~$2/mo for the service (Again, Bali prices).
Can someone who knows better tell me if that's good science or not?
Some random person told me that the parts of the spectrum that are absorbed by CH4 are already absorbed by H2O, which is way more prevalent, so the CH4 doesn't matter much.
Is that true/valid/scientific?
In general, this stuff is complicated, and it’s easy for people using “motivated reasoning” to come up with the answer they want. Lots of comments reflecting such misinformation appear on HN — it’s frustrating.
So, listening to random people isn’t such a good idea. Much better to read a report from people who study this stuff, like: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/, which I recommend to technically interested nonspecialists.
(I eat lunch with one of the co-authors of the technical paper in Nature linked to the OP, the press release is: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7535, paper is: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1720-3)
Obviously I am not taking in information without skepticism, otherwise I would not have asked the question.
But if I can't read something like that and refute it, then obviously I don't understand the issue very well. The best way to remedy that is to ask (not ignorant silence), so I'm a bit disappointed with the other replies who ridiculed me for asking.
Resources like the overview report I linked are critical.
"@AlGore to launch climate brainwashing campaign for students"
"Asians Better Hope It’s A Trump Win In 2020"
"Fauxcahontas must be dumber than schist"
Basically it's saying that the spectrums absorbed by CH4 are already being absorbed by H2O. What part of that is not correct?