Month 3, Day 22: More Fart Jokes, Please.

I’m listening to health-care debate, so I’ve only got a small fraction of a brain. Here’s the latest terrifying news: more on polar methane. I really wish I could remain ignorant of all this.

Dear Senators Kerry, Lieberman and Graham,

I write to urge you to include language in your proposed climate legislation that specifically addresses the problem of polar methane release. A recent study reported in Science News* indicates that microbes living under ice sheets in the polar regions may be churning out huge amounts of this powerful greenhouse gas. If this wasn’t bad enough, we already know that methane is already entering the atmosphere as the permafrost cap that’s been keeping it underground melts, due to increased atmospheric temperatures.

Climatologists’ projections of global warming haven’t yet taken this methane into account, which means that even the worst of the worst-case estimates are undoubtedly too optimistic. We need a world-wide Manhattan Project, bringing together the top scientific minds of the planet to address these multiple interlocked problems.

Rather than allowing that methane to enter the atmosphere and trigger incalculable damage to planetary ecosystems, we need to solve the problem of harvesting and collecting it for use as fuel. While burning methane also releases CO2 (which means that it is unsuitable as a long-term fuel source) this approach is vastly preferable to allowing it to trigger a greenhouse tipping point that would lead us much closer to the Venusian worst-case scenario outlined by Dr. James Hansen.

Any proposed climate legislation needs to acknowledge the magnitude of this problem, and outline steps to engaging the world’s scientific expertise and imagination on methods of ameliorating it.

There is no time to lose.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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