The weather, currently.
As you prepare to relax on this Memorial Day weekend, know that you’re in for some great barbecuing weather, so long as you start the festivities in the afternoon. We’re seeing marine layer mornings Friday through Sunday, but those are going to keep temperatures down during your warmup game of cornhole. Highs will range from 71°F (Friday) to 74°F (Sunday & Monday,) and lows will reliably fall into the mid-50s. It’ll be a little cloudy at night, so if you catch a firework show, it might be a little hazy even before smoke masks they sky.
What you need to know, currently.
Six idle wells in Bakersfield were found to be leaking methane last week, the Associated Press reports. Although Uduak-Joe Ntuk, head of the California Geologic Energy Management division of the California Department of Conservation, assured residents that the leaks were “minor in nature,” a report from the state showed that three wells were leaking methane at explosive levels.
Methane is a colorless, odorless gas that’s about 25 times as potent as CO2 when it comes to global warming. It’s also quite obviously a public safety hazard—even if it’s not leaking in concentrations high enough to blow up your house it can cause long-term respiratory, cardiological, and neurological issues and sometimes result in death.
A recent report in Environmental Science and Technology found that wells across New Mexico were emitting about six times as much methane as the EPA expected. Plugging all these abandoned wells isn’t easy, especially the older ones. Theoretically, oil and gas companies are obligated to plug wells when they go dry, but lax regulations and the boom and bust nature of the oil gas industry means there’s little oversight when this infrastructure is abandoned.
A report published in Environmental Research Letters last year, showed that curbing methane emissions could reduce the speed of global warming by as much as 30 percent.