Story at a glance

  • A new report found reducing methane emissions by up to 45 percent over the next decade would prevent up to 0.3 degrees Celsius of planetary warming by 2045.
  • That would put the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach, according to the report.
  • Human-caused methane emissions primarily come from fossil fuels, waste and agriculture.

A new report from the United Nations says slashing global methane emissions is key to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. 

The report published Thursday by the Climate and Clear Coalition and the U.N. The Environment Programme found reducing methane emissions by up to 45 percent over the next decade would prevent up to 0.3 degrees Celsius, or a little more than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, of planetary warming by 2045. 


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


That would put the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach, according to the report. 

Human-caused methane emissions primarily come from fossil fuels, waste and agriculture. The U.N. report found methane reduction could be achieved at a reasonable cost by plugging leaks in pipelines, stopping venting of natural gas during drilling, properly capturing gas from landfills and cutting methane from livestock. 

“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,” Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, said in a release

“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,” Andersen added. 

The 45-percent cut could prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits and 25 million tons of crop losses annually, according to the assessment. 

Methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas and is responsible for about 30 percent of the Earth’s warming. Unlike carbon dioxide, which sticks around in the atmosphere for centuries, methane breaks down quickly and leaves the atmosphere after about a decade, which could offer short-term help in the long effort to curb global warming. 


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

NEW STUDY EXPLAINS WHY NEARLY 20 PERCENT OF ELECTRIC CAR OWNERS RETURN TO GAS

EXTREMELY RARE ANIMAL CAUGHT AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY FISHERMAN

25,000 BARRELS OF TOXIC DDT FOUND DUMPED IN OCEAN OFF CALIFORNIA

‘I’M NOT YOUR FOOD’ JOGGER TELLS BEAR TO TALK HIS WAY OUT OF ATTACK

WHEN BOBCAT ATTACKS, HUSBAND SAVES HIS WIFE’S LIFE


 

Published on May 06, 2021