Sep 17, 2018

Shell's new climate move

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell unveiled plans Monday to cut methane emissions from its worldwide operations to below 0.2% of the natural gas from their projects by 2025.

Why it matters: Shell, BP and others promote natural gas as a climate-friendly alternative to coal, thanks to its far lower carbon emissions when it's burned.

  • But methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, and leaks from oil-and-gas production (and elsewhere on the supply chain) erode some of that advantage.
  • Shell's move is similar BP's pledge in April, while Exxon unveiled a methane-cutting goal in May.

How it works: "Shell is implementing programmes, including using infrared cameras to scan for methane emissions, deploying advanced technology to repair leaks, and replacing high-bleed pneumatically-operated controllers with low emission alternatives," the company said Monday.

  • Shell said its current "baseline" leak methane leakage rate ranges from 0.01% to 0.8% across its assets.

The big picture: The move signals how some companies are pledging to forge ahead with methane cuts even as the Trump administration moves to scuttle U.S. regulations.

  • However, activists say the oil majors are still moving too slowly on climate efforts overall.

What's next: WSJ notes that the The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a group of 10 huge companies — including Aramco, BP, Shell, Total, Eni and others — plan to announce methane targets by the end of the year.

Go deeper

MLB's Rob Manfred is latest villain in Astros' cheating scandal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's decision to grant Astros players immunity in exchange for confessions about their sign-stealing scheme has undermined his reputation — and he only made himself look worse on Sunday.

The interview: In a 45-minute conversation with ESPN, Manfred asserted that public shame was punishment enough for the Astros. He also called the World Series trophy "just a piece of metal" and said that taking a title away from Houston "seems like a futile act."

Go deeperArrow50 mins ago - Sports

Economists warn coronavirus risk far worse than realized

Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Worries are growing that the economic impact from the novel coronavirus outbreak will be worse than expected and that markets are being too complacent in factoring it in as a risk.

What's happening: The number of confirmed cases has already far outpaced expectations and even those reports are being viewed through a lens of suspicion that the Chinese government is underreporting the figures.

National newspapers thrive while local outlets struggle to survive

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While big national newspapers grow stronger, local newspaper chains that have for decades kept the vast majority of the country informed are combusting.

Why it matters: The inequity between giants like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and their local counterparts represents a growing problem in America as local communities no longer have the power to set the agenda for the news that most affects them.