Energy & Environment

New research finds quick action on methane could significantly cut into global warming


Swift action to cut methane emissions could reduce the planet’s near-term warming by as much as 30 percent, according to a new study. 

The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, found that it’s possible to cut methane emissions from human activities in half by 2030.

It said that “pursuing all mitigation measures now” could slow near-term warming by around 30 percent, avoid one-quarter degree celsius of warming by the middle of the century and chart the course for avoiding more than one-half degree of warming by 2100. 

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is significantly more potent than carbon dioxide, but it remains in the atmosphere for less time. 

“Acting now and moving quickly to cut methane emissions is essential. Even modest delay would mean missing out on significant climate benefits,” Ilissa Ocko, the study’s lead author and senior climate scientist at Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement. 

“To realize these climate benefits, decision makers need to address methane directly and not assume the problem will resolve itself as a result of policies to reduce CO2,” Ocko added. 

The study says that three-quarters of emissions are projected to come from the livestock, oil and gas and landfill sectors.

The publication comes as the Senate is slated to vote this week on whether to repeal a Trump-era rule that restricted the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. 

Tags Greenhouse gas emissions methane emissions

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