What is the News?
Climate and Clean Air Coalition(CCAC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report titled “Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions”.
Objective: The report has suggested that the world needs to dramatically cut methane emissions to avoid the worst of climate change.
Key Findings of the Global Methane Assessment Report:
Increase in Methane Emissions:
- Currently, Human-caused methane emissions are increasing faster at any other time (since record keeping began in the 1980s).
- Carbon dioxide levels have dropped during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, methane in the atmosphere reached record levels last year.
- This was a cause of concern as methane was an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. It was responsible for about 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times.
Source of Methane Emissions:
- More than half of global methane emissions stem from human activities in three sectors: fossil fuels (35%), waste (20%) and agriculture(40%).
- Fossil fuel sector: Oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution account for 23%. Coal mining alone accounts for 12% of emissions.
- Waste sector: Landfills and wastewater make up about 20% of global anthropogenic emissions.
- Agricultural sector: Livestock emissions from manure and fermentation represent roughly 32%. Further, rice cultivation accounts for 8% of global anthropogenic emissions.
Methane Mitigation according to Global Methane Assessment Report:
The mitigation potential in different sectors varies between countries and regions:
- Europe had the greatest potential to curb methane emissions from farming, fossil fuel operations and waste management.
- India had the greatest potential to reduce methane emissions in the waste sector.
- China’s mitigation potential was best in coal production and livestock.
- Africa’s mitigation potential was best in livestock, followed by oil and gas.
What needs to be done?
- Human-caused methane emissions must be cut by 45% to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
- Such a cut would prevent a rise in global warming by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2045.
- It would also prevent 26 lakh premature deaths, 77 lakh asthma-related hospital visits annually as well as 25 million tonnes of crop losses.
- Further, three human behavioural changes could reduce methane emissions by 65–80 million tonnes per year over the next few decades. The behavioural changes are:
- Reducing food waste and loss
- Improving livestock management and
- Adopting healthy diets (vegetarian or with a lower meat and dairy content).
Climate and Clean Air Coalition(CCAC)
- Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organizations.
- Aim: The coalition aims to protect the climate and improve air quality through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
- India is a member of the coalition.
What are Short-lived Climate Pollutants?
- Short-lived climate pollutants are climate pollutants that remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than carbon dioxide (CO2). Though short-lived they have the potential to warm the atmosphere many times greater than CO2.
- Several short-lived climate pollutants like black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. These alone are responsible for up to 45% of current global warming.
- Firstly, Methane (CH4) is a colourless, odourless, and highly flammable gas composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.
- Secondly, Methane is found in small quantities in Earth’s atmosphere. Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas.
- Thirdly, Major natural sources of methane include emissions from wetlands and oceans, and from the digestive processes of termites.
- Fourthly, Methane sources related to human activities include rice production, landfills, raising cattle and other ruminant animals, and energy generation.
Source: Down To Earth