WASHINGTON, DC: A global methane assessment by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says human-caused methane emissions can be reduced by up to 45 percent, or 180 million tonnes a year, by 2030.
The reduction would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045 and keep within the Paris Climate Agreement warming ceiling of +1.5˚C. It would also prevent annually 255 000 premature deaths, 775 000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 26 million tonnes of crop losses globally.
The report notes that most human-caused methane emissions come from fossil fuels, waste and agriculture. The fossil fuel sector, covering oil and gas extraction, processing, and distribution accounts for 23 percent with coal mining an additional 12 percent. In the waste sector, landfills and wastewater make up 20 percent while agriculture - including livestock emissions - produce 32 percent, and rice cultivation a further eight percent.
Human-caused methane emissions are increasing faster than any time since record keeping began in the 1980s, according to UNEP. Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented another record for CO2 emissions, the amount of methane in the atmosphere shot up to record levels last year, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Cutting methane is the strongest lever we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years and complements necessary efforts to reduce carbon dioxide,” commented UNEP executive director Inger Andersen. “The benefits to society, economies, and the environment are numerous and far outweigh the cost. We need international cooperation to urgently reduce methane emissions as much as possible this decade.”
Hosted by UNEP, the CCAC is an international partnership working to protect the climate and improve air quality through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, black carbon, tropospheric ozone and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Story Type: News