U.S., Europe Announce Plans to Dramatically Cut Methane Emissions

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.

By Paolo DeAndreis
Sep. 27, 2021 10:44 UTC

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.- Drew Shindell, Earth sci­ences pro­fes­sor, Duke University

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.”

Related Articles

Feedback / Suggestions