Gaia seems to like fossil fuels much more than many of her followers. Earlier today, Japan announced that it successfully accessed ocean deposits of a new, relatively clean-burning, and hyper-abundant energy source: fire ice. More accurately called methane hydrate, fire ice exists under Arctic permafrost and deep underwater, primarily on seabeds along continental shelves. Up to this point it has seemed out of reach. Not anymore. . . .

Greens will already be familiar with this compound, as it plays a key role in many global warming nightmare scenarios. In the worst-case, this is how it would work: greenhouse gasses warm the earth, raising the temperature of the oceans. As the temperature rises, the “ice cages” trapping methane on our seabeds melts. The methane then makes its way into our atmosphere, further warming our earth, creating a positive feedback loop of destructive warming.

This is certainly enough to strike fear into the hearts of us all. Fortunately there’s a way around this problem. Methane is one of the world’s most powerful greenhouse gasses—about 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide—but when burned, it is cleaner than both coal and oil. By purposefully accessing these methane hydrates, we could potentially stave off this feedback loop and provide the world with a new energy source at the same time.

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