What to do about climate Change – Operation Methane Harvest

By Jena Griffiths | July 9, 2014

Here’s a short video that effectively demonstrates what is right now pouring into our atmosphere in huge volumes wherever arctic ice is melting.
Why should you be concerned?

Why is this important?
This is really dangerous for life on this planet because Methane (CH4) is much much more potent than CO2 in trapping heat in our atmosphere and oceans. The challenge for us humans is this: there are vast reserves of frozen Methane under every ocean and under melting ice sheets. This methane is being released as the oceans warm and the ice melts.

How much more potent is Methane?
Estimates range between 86 times more potent and 26 times more potent depending on if you are looking at 10 year or 100 year figures. (Over a 10 year period Methane is 86 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide and over a 100 year period 26 times more potent.)

Why isn’t Global warming more visible?
Here’s an image and a video that show how the oceans have been absorbing most of the heat until now and how that impacts Methane release.

What can we do?
1. Find a philanthropist who is willing to invest prize money that will inspire serious contenders to invest time in finding a solution.
2. Put your own brain to work. Dream up a solution or join a think tank to spark ideas off other people to solve this challenge.
3. Host a think tank through a university and get expert facilitation free of charge.
4. Ask everyone you know, even lobby oil and other energy companies, to fund this solution-seeking challenge.
We still have a chance

to harvest this Methane before it escapes into the atmosphere.
5. Explore ways to put carbon back into the soil or earth

See comments below for more data
Here’s a good summary of what is at stake

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Topics: climate change, ecology and nature, Environment | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “What to do about climate Change – Operation Methane Harvest”

  1. Jena Griffiths Says:
    July 23rd, 2018 at 10:33 am

    updates on this problem July 2018

  2. Jena Griffiths Says:
    July 23rd, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Here below is the original text of the operation methane harvest challenge. What is needed most urgently is a philanthropist willing to sponsor a massive incentive prize to inspire innovative people to dream up a workable solution.

    Right now a vast reserve (a thousand billion tons+) of methane gas is trapped under the now melting Arctic ice. If it continues to escape into the atmosphere each summer it could trigger mass extinction on this planet within the next 30 years.

    But this runaway scenario could be halted. Methane could be harvested and used to reverse the global warming feedback loop.
    Methane is a natural byproduct of life. If we don’t learn to use it we need to figure out how to neutralize it or preserve its storage. This challenge is designed to get the world’s best minds engaged in finding a solution.

    Brief video on suggested challenge to solve this problem.
    First steps:
    – to find a prize sponsor.
    – to inspire the planets best minds to tackle this problem.

    Understanding the challenge we face
    Each summer, as Arctic sea ice melts, more and more methane (rising from the ocean floors or under the Arctic tundra) escapes into the atmosphere.
    The red areas show where Methane is being released into the atmosphere (during the summer months).

    (Image from : http://arctic-news.blogspot.ch/p/myths.html)
    Because methane is +30 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide as a green house gas, this sudden release of excess methane could radically influence land and atmosphepheric temperatures  in the very near future.
    If we do nothing, the red part of the graph below will spike very suddenly.
    Why haven’t we seen it yet?
    Many of us haven’t really felt the reality of global warming yet because Earth is a water planet.
    Up to now, the bulk of the heat has been absorbed by our oceans.

    Methane release caused by the warming oceans is about to change the red part of this graph very suddenly.
    It is up to our generation to turn the scenario around and halt methane release before we trigger massive atmospheric warming.
    We can do this!
    Let’s halt methane release and at the same time create a vital bridge to transition across to renewable energy sources.
    The first step is to harvest or store methane before much more of it escapes into the atmosphere; before it causes the red graph to spike upwards like the blue ones.
    Create a really big incentive to inspire breakthrough innovation.
    It is an ambitious challenge but it is do- able.
    Necessity is the mother of invention. And we humans are inventive.
    When will this challenge start?
    The metrics are our immediate priority. We can’t start this challenge until we have clear way to single out a winner.
    If you have any ideas on this please contact us. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone currently thinking about this issue: scientists, engineers or anyone with practical experience in this field.
    To everyone else – don’t let our design of the finish line stop you from applying your genius to the huge challenge we face.
    Some questions for innovative thinkers
    Can you invent a way to harvest methane ice (or prevent it escaping into the atmosphere) without damaging the local ecology?
    Maybe you already have a few great ideas?
    For example, how can we capture and turn this vast reserve of natural gas into electricity?
    Or can we neutralize or convert the methane into something else?
    (See Thomas Rippel’s solution for doing this in the dairy industry at the bottom of this page. Can you think of a way to apply this to the Arctic?)
    A massive prize will be awarded to the person who dreams up the best solution.

    How much is the prize money?
    We need an incentive prize that is big enough to spark the interest of inventors from all around the world, the global media as well as all current players in the fuel and energy industry.
    The challenge will be named after the person who funds the prize money.
    The question is, how many zeros are required to get all the main players fully engaged?
    100 000 000?
    Would you like to fund this incentive prize? Bear in mind that the prize money will not be awarded UNTIL someone actually does figure out a viable solution. 
    Other ways to fund this project:
    Pledge any amount. These funds will be used to promote and run the challenge. The challenge will start when this target is reached.
    What to do next?

    Can you think of a solution? Or do you know someone who could?  Spread the word.
    Get the news out to anyone willing to apply their mind to this task.
    What are the requirements?
    We are still dreaming up the metrics for this challenge. We thought we would get the word out to you ahead of time so that you can start thinking about it and spread the word.

    The following metrics are just preliminary guidelines:
    How will you know that a competitor has solved the problem (won the Challenge)?
    They have a workable solution to harvest methane ice (or store or neutralize it) before it escapes into the atmosphere, without damaging the local ecology.
    What metrics will you use to judge the winners?
    The group or person with the fastest harvesting method ( minimum xx volume/minute)
with the least impact to the local ecology (measurable by xx standards) is the winner.

    What does a competitor need to submit in order for their submission to be judged?
    Stage 1: A blueprint that can be assessed by experts in this field.
    Stage 2: A prototype.

    How can you help?
    Get involved however you can. Ideas, pledges, tweets, metric advice and concept tweaks not to mention funding the big prize…
    The opportunities for you to do something are endless.
    It is an ambitious project but we can do this.
    It’s up to our generation. You and me and anyone else we care to inform.

    For inventive thinkers – some ideas to get you started
    A good scenario to look at first. http://arctic-news.blogspot.ch/p/comprehensive-plan-of-action.html As you can see harvesting methane is just one piece of the puzzle. Albeit a vital one.
    Here is a methane capturing idea proposed by Stephen Salter, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 2011
    Here is another
    And here’s a completly different idea:
    Biological Control of Arctic Methane Emissions
    August 2014

    Background information
    Understanding the challenge we face
    The Key facts


    “As a greenhouse gas, methane is +20 times more potent per molecule than carbon dioxide. There is the potential for climate change to alter sea temperatures and cause more methane gas to be released from seabed hydrates into bubbles which reach the atmosphere” Professor Tim Leighton, University of Southampton

    http://www.winwenger.com/methane-CO2.htm  – here’s an invitation, a think tank fascilator proposal to help you come up with a workable idea
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7btbPI-WDs – a doomsday video – what will happen if we do nothing
    Why sea ice matters – a good background summary from various scientists
    recent articles:
    Related information:
    Mining methane on ocean beds –
    Mining companies are thinking about  deep sea methane and 20 years of research
    We need them to look at Arctic methane today as a priority.

    Methane powered technology
    Methane cars – Fiat in Europe
    Two ideas from the dairy industry
    1. Converting Methane to electricity in the dairy industry
    (Turning the dairy industry into electricity generators is a piece of this massive jigsaw puzzle. This in itself could be another prize-funded project.)
    2. How to radically reduce methane creation by the dairy industry
    Here’s a brilliant idea by Thomas Rippel on how cows could save the planet. It’s a way to prevent methane release and enrich soil at the same time.

    Radical ideas on this?
    Here is my solution to this challenge:  a program to teach mindfulness in all schools globally.
    More on this here: Can we cool the planet by thinking less?

    Bottom line, natural gas is valuable and abundant but we need to keep it out of the atmosphere if we want life as we know it to continue.