Mason Inman is the Oil and Gas Program Director at Global Energy Monitor, overseeing projects on gas power plants, oil and gas pipelines, LNG terminals, and gas extraction sites. He led the Gas Index study and building of the model. Previously, he worked at the nonprofit research organization Near Zero, based on the Stanford University campus, focused mainly on California climate policy. Before that, he was a science journalist for about a decade, writing for outlets including Science, Nature, National Geographic News.
Methane (natural gas) is a greenhouse gas with a much more powerful warming effect than carbon dioxide, so finding and eliminating gas leaks is an important part of addressing the climate challenge. But until now, we’ve had poor information about gas leakage within cities, as well as how to correctly attribute the leakage all along the chain from well to consumer.
In this episode we discuss a study, The Gas Index, with two of its authors. It is the first study that has provided granular estimates for life cycle methane leakage for a large number of cities, and the first to draw together recent assessments of leakage within cities, including leakage that occurs within buildings. It shows that cities’ gas systems are leaking about 72% more than had been previously estimated by the EPA.
We also consider the role of natural gas in the energy transition, and some of the tradeoffs we will have to consider as we deal with the problem of methane leakage.
Many have heard of peak oil, but few seem to understand what it really means, and fewer still know much of anything about the father of the idea, M. King Hubbert. In this episode we interview science journalist Mason Inman, who has written the first biography of Hubbert: The Oracle of Oil: A Maverick Geologist's Quest for a Sustainable Future, which hits the shelves April 11. Deeply researched and rich with detail about the debates over our energy future (and energy transition) from the 1940s through the 1980s, the book is a terrific read for anyone interested in peak oil theory, what it is about, and what it is not about (for example, oil prices!). Today’s debates about the future of energy aren’t too dissimilar from the debates of 60-70 years ago…and that should make us think hard about where we’re going.
Check out the interview that critics are calling “way too long!” with the author of the book that Publisher’s Weekly called “tedious!”
No, seriously: Check it out. It just may be the best material you’ll ever find on what “peak oil” really is.
Plus: I explain why I’m skeptical about IEA’s new report on the decoupling of carbon emissions and economic growth.