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From: Douglas Grandt answerthecall@me.

com
Subject:Arctic Permafrost Methane Seeps: XOM business plan killer
Date:July 19, 2017 at 12:47 PM
To:Darren W. Woods Darren.W.Woods@ExxonMobil.com, William (Bill) M. Colton William.M.Colton@ExxonMobil.com,
Susan K. Avery, PhD savery@whoi.edu
Cc: Jeffrey J. Woodbury jeff.j.woodbury@exxonmobil.com, Suzanne M. McCarron Suzanne.M.McCarron@ExxonMobil.com,
Max Schulz max.schulz@exxonmobil.com

In parts of northern Canada's Mackenzie River Delta, seen here by satellite, scientists are finding high levels of methane
near deeply thawed pockets of permafrost. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Dear Darren, Bill, and Susan,


.
As long-range forward thinkers, your responsibility is to evaluate choices and decide what
is best for the future viability of ExxonMobil.
.
What is happening in the arctic right now is an indication that ExxonMobils business plan
is not sustainable, and you need to change course. The release of methane is caused by
warming climate in the Arctic. Warmer temperatures in summer and winter is causing
thick floes of ice to disappear, leaving fragile thinner single-season ice which melts when
the earth is tilted toward the sun (summer) and results in more and more open ocean with
less and less albedo (reflective capacity). You know this already, and that it is a positive
feedback phenomenon that ultimately will warm the planet beyond tipping points.
.
Taking the planet beyond climate tipping points is not good for ExxonMobils business.
.
You claim to support COP21 and the 195-nation Paris Accord. That means you surely
acknowledge that your business will decline in the next couple of decades. Dr. James
Hansen and others believe that burning your products must be curtailed very soon and
decline steadily by 3% to 6% per year, depending on the viability of soil sequestration of
carbon and the ability to economically remove CO2 from the atmosphere at the scale
required to reduce atmospheric concentrations to the 300ppm level for a livable human
habitat.
.
For your convenience, following is the complete article associated with the photo, above.
.
Sincerely yours,
.
Doug Grandt
Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to
Resemble Swiss Cheese

Measurements over Canada's Mackenzie River Basin suggest that thawing


permafrost is starting to free greenhouse gases long trapped in oil and gas
deposits.

By Bob Berwyn | InsideClimate News | July 19, 2017 | Bit.ly/ICN19July17

Global warming may be unleashing new sources of heat-trapping methane from layers of
oil and gas that have been buried deep beneath Arctic permafrost for millennia. As the
Earth's frozen crust thaws, some of that gas appears to be finding new paths to the
surface through permafrost that's starting to resemble Swiss cheese in some areas,
scientists said.

In a study released today, the scientists used aerial sampling of the atmosphere to locate
methane sources from permafrost along a 10,000 square-kilometer swath of the
Mackenzie River Delta in northwestern Canada, an area known to have oil and gas
desposits.

Deeply thawed pockets of permafrost, the research suggests, are releasing 17 percent of
all the methane measured in the region, even though the emissions hotspots only make
up 1 percent of the surface area, the scientists found.

In those areas, the peak concentrations of methane emissions were found to be 13 times
higher than levels usually caused by bacterial decompositiona well-known source of
methane emissions from permafrostwhich suggests the methane is likely also coming
from geological sources, seeping up along faults and cracks in the permafrost, and from
beneath lakes.

The findings suggest that global warming will "increase emissions of geologic methane
that is currently still trapped under thick, continuous permafrost, as new emission
pathways open due to thawing permafrost," the authors wrote in the journal Scientific
Reports. Along with triggering bacterial decomposition in permafrost soils, global warming
can also trigger stronger emissions of methane from fossil gas, contributing to the
carbon-climate feedback loop, they concluded.

"This is another methane source that has not been included so much in the models," said
the study's lead author, Katrin Kohnert, a climate scientist at the GFZ German Research
Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany. "If, in other regions, the permafrost
becomes discontinuous, more areas will contribute geologic methane," she said.
Similar Findings Near Permafrost Edges
The findings are based on two years of detailed aerial atmospheric sampling above the
Mackenzie River Delta. It was one of the first studies to look for sources of deep methane
across such a large region.

Previous site-specific studies in Alaska have looked at single sources of deep methane,
including beneath lakes. A 2012 study made similar findings near the edge of permafrost
areas and around melting glaciers.

Now, there is more evidence that "the loss of permafrost and glaciers opens conduits for
the release of geologic methane to the atmosphere, constituting a newly identified,
powerful feedback to climate warming," said the 2012 study's author, Katey Walter
Anthony, a permafrost researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"Together, these studies suggest that the geologic methane sources will likely increase in
the future as permafrost warms and becomes more permeable," she said.

"I think another critical thing to point out is that you do not have to completely thaw thick
permafrost to increase these geologic methane emissions," she said. "It is enough to
warm permafrost and accelerate its thaw. Permafrost that starts to look like Swiss cheese
would be the type that could allow substantially more geologic methane to escape in the
future."

Risn Commane, a Harvard University climate researcher, who was not involved with the
study but is familiar with Kohnert's work, said, "The fluxes they saw are much larger than
any biogenic flux ... so I think a different source, such as a geologic source of methane, is
a reasonable interpretation."

Commane said the study makes a reasonable assumption that the high emissions
hotspots are from geologic sources, but that without more site-specific data, like isotope
readings, it's not possible to extrapolate the findings across the Arctic, or to know for sure
if the source is from subsurface oil and gas deposits.

"There doesn't seem to be any evidence of these geogenic sources at other locations in
the Arctic, but it's something that should be considered in other studies," she said. There
may be regions with pockets of underground oil and gas similar to the Mackenzie River
Delta that haven't yet been mapped.

Speed of Methane Release Remains a Question


The Arctic is on pace to release a lot more greenhouse gases in the decades ahead. In
Alaska alone, the U.S. Geological Survey recently estimated that 16-24 percent of the
state's vast permafrost area would melt by 2100.
In February, another research team documented rapidly degrading permafrost across
a 52,000-square-mile swath of the northwest Canadian Arctic.

What's not clear yet is whether the rapid climate warming in the Arctic will lead to a
massive surge in releases of methane, a greenhouse gas that is about 28 times more
powerful at trapping heat as carbon dioxide but does not persist as long in the
atmosphere. Most recent studies suggest a more gradual increase in releases, but the
new research adds a missing piece of the puzzle, according Ted Schuur, a permafrost
researcher at Northern Arizona University.

Since the study only covered two years, it doesn't show long-term trends, but it makes a
strong argument that there is significant methane escaping from trapped layers of oil and
gas, Schuur said.

"As for current and future climate impact, what matters is the flux to the atmosphere and
if it is changing ... if there is methane currently trapped by permafrost, we could imagine
this source might increase as new conduits in permafrost appear," he said.

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/18072017/arctic-permafrost-melting-
methane-emissions-geologic-sources-study

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