The trans-Atlantic partners have announced an effort to cut methane emissions by 30 percent in an effort to meet commitments outlined by the Paris Agreement.
United States President Joe Biden has announced a new plan to curb the vast quantities of methane emissions in the atmosphere at the Major Economies Forum (MEF).
In partnership with the European Union, the U.S. has launched a Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by nearly 30 percent of 2020 levels by the end of the decade.
When you think about it, going down 30 percent in a decade when it’s been going up, that’s a huge reversal… If they pull this off, this could be huge.
“This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit, like improving public health and agricultural output,” Biden said. “We’re mobilizing support to help developing countries that join and pledge to do something significant, pledge and seize this vital opportunity.”See Also: Number of Extremely Hot Days Each Year Is Rising
Methane is one of the most polluting greenhouse gases. Its ability to trap solar radiation is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the U.S., methane accounts for about 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“Human activities emitting methane include leaks from natural gas systems and the raising of livestock,” the EPA said. “Methane is also emitted by natural sources such as natural wetlands.”
Methane is processed by soil and chemical reactions in the atmosphere which determine its removal. Its lifespan as polluting gas is much shorter than carbon dioxide.
At the meeting, Biden also emphasized how “the United States has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 50 and 52 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.”
“And, you know, we’ve set a goal that by 2035 our power sector will be free of carbon,” he added. “And by 2030, 50 percent of cars sold in the United States, we believe should be and must be electric vehicles.”
According to EPA data, in 2017 the U.S. accounted for 15 percent of global emissions from fossil fuel combustion and some industrial processes, while the European Union accounted for eight percent and China for 30 percent.
While the European Union has recently launched its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, China has announced plans to restore wetlands along with several other measures to limit some of its own emissions.
According to new research, the 131 countries responsible for 72 percent of the global emissions have announced or are enforcing similar emission-reduction plans. This may prove to be effective in slightly limiting the projected global temperature rise, the paper published in Nature states.
“National net zero emission targets could, if fully implemented, reduce best estimates of projected global average temperature increase to 2.0 to 2.4 °C by 2100, bringing the Paris Agreement temperature goal within reach,” the team of European scientists who authored the report wrote.
“These targets could substantially lower projected warming as compared to currently implemented policies (2.9 to 3.2 °C) or pledges submitted to the Paris Agreement (2.4 to 2.9 °C),” they added.
Recently, the unprecedented coordinated initiative of hundreds of health science journals throughout the world published an editorial warning that even a 1.5 °C increase in world temperature would be considered catastrophic for human health to the point that the damages “will be impossible to reverse.”
The Global Methane Pledge has been welcomed by several scientists.
Drew Shindell, a professor of Earth sciences at Duke University, told CNN that “when you think about it, going down 30 percent in a decade when it’s been going up, that’s a huge reversal, it’s a u‑turn. If they pull this off, this could be huge.”
According to recent research from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the reduction of methane is to be considered a high priority in the war against the greenhouse effect.
SEI projections show that if human sources of methane emissions were reduced by 45 percent by 2030, “this would avoid nearly 0.3 °C of warming after 2040, contributing significantly to keeping the 1.5 ºC Paris Agreement target within reach.”