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Opinion

Readers React: California was doing great on climate change -- until the Aliso Canyon gas leak

Porter Ranch gas leak

Protestors wearing gas masks attend a hearing on Jan. 23 regarding the gas leak near Porter Ranch.

(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

To the editor: One important fact is missing from your otherwise excellent analysis of the long-term impact of the Aliso Canyon gas leak on global warming. (“How much damage is the Porter Ranch leak doing to the climate?,” Jan. 24)

If the estimate is accurate that so far the leak has put out 84 million kilograms of methane, which will contribute to global warming the equivalent of 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the leak has already effectively erased more than a year’s worth of the entire state of California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our state reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, according to the latest available inventory from the California Air Resources Board.

California rightfully prides itself as a global leader in confronting climate change, but we’ve now been knocked back close to a year and a half by this leak, with more gas spewing from the hole every day.

Jon Christensen, Los Angeles

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The writer is a historian with UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability.

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To the editor: The increased levels of global-warming methane gas from the well near Porter Ranch are cause for concern. However, it must be acknowledged that the increasing use of natural gas has greatly improved the overall air quality in the Los Angeles Basin.

Municipal buses have switched from dirty diesel engines to cleaner-burning natural gas. Power plants switched from burning oil to using natural gas. It is cheaper to heat homes and cook with natural gas. Businesses of all kinds use natural gas.

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The residents of Porter Ranch are going through awful times, but we need to remember that their temporary residences are probably heated (and the cooking is done) with natural gas. If the entire Aliso Canyon storage field is shut down without replacement facilities, we may all suffer from worsening air pollution.

Matthew Hetz, Los Angeles 

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