The World Daily
UN warns of greater methane cuts necessary to curb climate change

An upcoming UN report is set to emphasize the importance of addressing the potent pollutant gas, methane. Photo:AFP


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | APRIL 28th 2021


According to a United Nations report that is due to be released the following week, it will become increasingly necessary to include cuts to the amount of methane emissions from worldwide industries if we hope to keep global temperatures beneath the UN-recommended maximum.

Ever since the establishment of the Paris Climate Accords, many nations have been looking towards new means through which to limit their overall amount of environmentally-harmful carbon emissions. Ever since the USA’s return to the accords, more and more countries have been taking them seriously, but they may be unprepared for the revelation that cutting down on methane emissions may be just as vital for the goal.

“There’s no chance whatsoever to meet our climate targets if we don’t deal with the methane emissions that this report highlights,” said the international director for methane at the non-profit Clean Air Task Force, Jonathan Banks. “Methane provides an opportunity for a win on climate change in the very near term.”

The goal of the accords is to keep global temperatures from rising past 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The trouble about methane is that it has much more potential as a heat-trapping chemical than carbon dioxide. Though carbon dioxide is the more dangerous emission due to its enormous quantity released compared to methane, neither should be taken for granted.

A summary of the Global Methane Assessment, reportedly seen prior to publication by Reuters, wrote that “Urgent steps must be taken to reduce methane emissions this decade.” Given methane’s destructive capabilities towards the atmosphere, curbing it sooner may lead to greater and easier methods for countries to reach their 2050 net-zero emission goals.

The study is to be released next week by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition. Its results include studies and inputs from over 20 scientists and experts on the matter. The report is also supposedly to include details on how the fossil fuel industry will not incur too many (if any at all) costs on the methane reduction target.


At the climate summit that had occurred last week, US President Joe Biden spoke about the need to curb methane emissions, having said that: “I see workers capping hundreds of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells that need to be cleaned up, and abandoned coal mines that need to be reclaimed, putting a stop to the methane leaks and protecting the health of our communities.”

Methane commonly leaks from gas pipes, or is vented out after oil extraction in the oil and gas industry. According to climate scientists, this is the field where the easiest cuts to methane emissions can be achieved.

“Around 80% of no-cost actions come from the oil and gas industry. In each of the scenarios analysed; nearly a third of that would come from top oil and gas producers meeting their agreed upon targets to reduce upstream leakage,” said a US-based campaign group called the Environmental Defense Fund.

Last year, when the European Commission had presented its strategy for tackling methane emissions, a European Union official stated that: “We have calculated that if we manage to reduce by 50% the global emission of man-made methane, then we could reduce the temperature rise by 0.18°C. So this is going to be important when we are going to get to 1.5°C maximum.”


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021