California Resources CorporationRepublic ServicesWaste ConnectionsWaste Management

California’s methane super-emitters: Four companies with 26.8% of all methane from California facilities had a warming effect equal to 725,000+ cars on the road for a year

January 14, 2020

A NASA study finds that super-emitters leak unusual rates of methane in California, with Truvalue analysis showing that four companies represent 26.8% of all methane from California facilities. NASA data allows individual companies’ methane footprints to be analyzed: A series of Research Briefs will examine risks and opportunities for these firms.

In this brief, we explore the reasons why methane is an important greenhouse gas, and analyze the NASA data to identify top emitters:

  • Put together, four companies – Republic Services, Waste Connections, California Resources Corporation, and Waste Management – had enough methane releases from 29 sites to equal the warming effect of more than 725,000 internal combustion engine (ICE) passenger vehicles added to the road for a year
  • ESG-related news items such as methane emissions from a company are not buy or sell signals in a vacuum.  The context of the company’s performance and behavior makes all the difference in helping asset owners and managers to assess that emerging data point in order to identify risk and opportunity
  • The California Air Resources Board is considering regular use of a low-orbit satellite array following this NASA study, and proactive regulation at the federal level may follow, as happened historically with fuel economy standards
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