Jean-Michel Cousteau's Statement on the Aliso Canyon Methane Leak In Porter Ranch, Los Angeles

January 26, 2016

Jean-Michel Cousteau's Statement on the Aliso Canyon Methane Leak
In Porter Ranch, Los Angeles

To the people living near Porter Ranch, Los Angeles in the midst of the Aliso Canyon methane leak– my heart goes out to all those who have been affected. Adults and children getting sick, families leaving at the threat of their safety, and people’s lives – jobs and educations – disrupted on a massive scale. The lack of Southern California Gas Company to protect the public from the gas leak, or even inform them about the problem in a timely manner, is a violation of our basic rights. This is a major problem. It is not healthy to people or our planet, it is not economical, and it is totally unacceptable.

We have been polluting the environment through the burning of fossil fuels for decades. In the past, we did not know the consequences of our actions. Now we do. Now we know that humans are accelerating the effects of climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases. The biggest component of natural gas – methane – is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. As months go by and methane continues to pour from the Aliso Canyon leak, as well as many other sources around the world, we put our health and future at risk.

We are learning more every day about how natural gas leaks are occurring around the world. Methane, the invisible, odorless natural gas, is seeping up through the ground, leaking from old infrastructure, or being burned off at highly unsustainable rates from gas flares. The Paris Climate Accord signed by nearly 200 nations in December 2015 agreed that human caused climate change is a serious global issue and all nations must take individual steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Controlling, managing, and ending methane pollution is critical action that all nations of the world must make.

We have the knowledge. Now we need real actions to move us away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources from the suns, winds, tides and currents. As humans, we have the privilege of being the only species on the planet that has a choice not to disappear. We can change the way we view and interact with our planet and its resources. Let us innovate and create more opportunities to live in a sustainable balance with our water planet.

Warm regards,


Jean-Michel Cousteau
President, Ocean Futures Society