Feedback Loop: Climate Change = Smaller Gas Reserves

Here is an interesting feedback loop: Global warming shortens the exploration season. Does this lead to smaller gas reserves and more coal burning, leading to greater warming?

Warmer weather in Western Canada means the winter thaw of ice and snow- the "break-up season" has started early. In northern Alberta the heavy equipment moves on ice roads, and when the ice melts the entire place dissolves into mud. According to the Globe and Mail: "This slows down all activity. Companies that were hoping to squeeze in more drilling before the spring are being cut off." said Stephen Calderwood, a Calgary-based oil and gas analyst.

While the big thaw, usually expected toward the end of March, doesn't completely prevent firms from drilling, it does create huge amounts of mud that prevents them from moving large equipment, such as drilling rigs, on rugged and remote roads in Western Canada's relatively inaccessible natural gas basins. Local municipalities in southeastern Alberta, such as the town of Oyen, have already issued ordinances prohibiting the transport of heavy machinery in an attempt to keep roads clear, essentially meaning that gas rigs in the region can't be sent to drill new wells. As a result, firms are starting to take their drilling rigs out of service. ::Globe and Mail

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