California may see 14-day blackouts following methane leak
Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 5:22 PM - Fallout continues from the massive gas leak that spewed 97,100 tonnes of methane into the atmosphere, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas pollution from 572,000 cars, between October 2015 and February 2016.
Now, energy officials are announcing some areas could see prolonged blackouts this summer, the Associated Press reports.
In some places, the blackouts could last as long as 14 days.
The historic gas leak crippled a major energy supply for the region, which will strain the energy grid during the warmer months.
State officials have proposed a plan to reduce the risk of gas shortages, but likely won't be able to eliminate them altogether.
HISTORIC GAS LEAK
The Aliso Canyon gas leak forced the evacuation of 1800 homes and was the largest methane leak in U.S. history.
According to the Associated Press, the leak is expected to cost SoCalGas, the company that owns the once-leaky well, between $250 and 300 million. That figure does not include potential costs of 65 lawsuits filed by families who suffered nausea, nose bleeds and dizzy spells after inhaling the fumes.
WHAT IS METHANE?
Methane is among the most prevalent greenhouse gases emitted in North America, arising from human activity. It is also emitted by natural sources.
While it doesn't remain in the atmosphere as long as the greenhouse gas carbon monoxide (CO2), it is much more efficient at trapping heat than CO2, making it a large contributor to climate change.
WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE?
When scientists refer to 'climate change', they're talking about a change in climatic norms.
In other words, warm climates could get even warmer and drier, or they could get colder and wetter.
While this occurs naturally, scientists say humans play a role as well.
Here's an explanation from The Weather Network's Chris St. Clair:
Source: Associated Press