Thought Piece

“It’s final. The EDF has revealed itself to have totally lost its objectivity, if not its media credibility: Even the Wall Street Journal has taken the new EDF report at face value. In fact, I wrote the author of the Journal piece, Tim Puko, an email last night protesting the lack of critical review in his article. That said, I won’t bother reprinting any of the study or its press coverage, but I am including an excellent rebuttal written by Seth Whitehead of the Energy in Depth group. Philosophically speaking, how can a powerful, hugely funded group like the Environmental Defense Fund pretend to be an objective, scientific organization while playing such politics: and, how can a small group of smart researchers funded with some relatively small private sector support be made to look like industry shills. It is just plain wrong-headed. “What historian will definitely wonder about in the future centuries is how deeply flawed logic, obscured by shrewd and unrelenting propaganda, actually enabled a coalition of powerful special interests to convince nearly everyone in the world that CO2 from human industry was a dangerous, planet-destroying toxin.” Richard Lindzen

Five Things To Know About New EDF Methane Study

So the fact that a new EDF study released today finds methane leakage rates of 2.3 percent — well above what EDF-led research has previously found and “60 percent higher than the U.S. EPA inventory estimate,” according to the report — begs the question: What changed with regard to EDF’s methodology for this study that yielded a much higher leakage estimate than its past research has shown?

Turns out, quite a lot changed, and most of the changes raise red flags regarding the study’s conclusions. Not only did the authors of the new EDF study — which includes no new measurements and instead calculates national methane emissions based on past studies — opt not to use past EDF research as a basis for their emissions calculations, it relies exclusively on five far less comprehensive facility-level studies that lacked industry participation to arrive at its conclusion of higher U.S. emissions than previously reported. In contrast, an “alternative” calculation, based partially on EDF’s past studies, that finds emissions in line with current EPA estimates is buried in the study’s supplemental data and is not even mentioned in the report.

These are just two of several key issues regarding the manner in which EDF conducted this study that appear aimed at producing the most extreme emissions estimate possible ahead of the 27th annual World Gas Conference (WGC), which begins Monday in Washington, DC. Here is a deeper look at each issue.

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