U.N. report reinforces methane concerns in ND

Mike Moen
Devils Lake Daily Journal

During the industrial era, the U.N. says, methane emissions have accounted for nearly 30% of global warming.

MANDAREE, N.D. -- The climate-change threat has been described as a "code red for humanity" as part of a new United Nations report on global warming.

In North Dakota, environmental advocates say federal regulators need to press ahead with tighter methane emissions rules.

The U.N. report showed greenhouse-gas emissions will only bring on more climate devastation. For years, those sounding the alarm have pointed to carbon dioxide, but other activists pointed out the impact from methane emissions can't be ignored.

Lisa DeVille, a Dakota Resource Council board member representing group affiliate Fort Berthold POWER, said where she lives on the Fort Berthold Reservation, residents cannot escape the harmful effects.

"We're inhaling it," DeVille explained. "In the Bakken region, there's some days in there the wind blows towards our way. There's flaring."

The U.N. report showed greenhouse-gas emissions will only bring on more climate devastation.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden reinstated methane regulations from 2016 that were suspended by the Trump administration. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also in the process of drafting additional standards.

Advocates in oil-producing states such as North Dakota say the new rules need to commit to cutting methane emissions from gas and oil production by 65% by 2030. Opponents of tighter rules say they could lead to higher gas prices.

As for the U.N. report, DeVille acknowledged it is good to see scientists getting out front and warning the public about what's to come, even though the signs are everywhere.

"Echoing what most of the U.S. can see with our own eyes, it is past time for action," DeVille contended.

Researchers said methane is more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet. It does not stay in the atmosphere as long, suggesting drastically cutting those emissions could potentially slow the pace of irreversible climate change.