Methane is the new threat to the climate: why emissions of this gas cannot be ignored

Methane (CH4) is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases, which is ten times more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of its impact on the Earth’s heat balance in the short term. But despite this, only 13% of total methane emissions are accounted for in international or national measures aimed at combating greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

This was reported by the press service of the British Queen Mary University in London (QMUL), referring to a study by European climatologists. They collected data on all documents adopted in all UN member states and estimated what share of emissions they cover.

Most of them operate in North America and Europe, which account for 39% and 30% of such regulations, while the countries of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Central Asia and Russia each account for 1-4% of the total masses of restrictions.

Methane emissions began to attract the attention of politicians and diplomats relatively recently, in 2021, when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a new report in which possible sources of methane emissions were first studied in detail. According to UN experts, methane emissions need to be reduced by 40-45% to fulfill the key objectives of the Paris climate agreement.

Methane emissions are a problem for the climate

Methane is a gas that is produced naturally and as a result of human activity. According to scientists, about a third of the greenhouse effect is due to methane emissions, which forces us to look for and study all natural and anthropogenic sources of this greenhouse gas.

Most of the methane emission control measures concern the production of biogenic methane associated with agriculture, while CH4 emissions associated with the extraction of coal and other minerals are hardly documented. This casts doubt on whether methane emissions can be reduced to the required levels without the adoption of additional restrictions at the international and national levels.

Methane is the new climate threat

Methane emissions are a serious climate problem that requires immediate action. Unless we introduce new limits and regulations to regulate these emissions, our chances of stopping global warming at the level that was laid down in international agreements will become vanishingly small.

To solve this problem, it is necessary to develop new strategies and measures to limit methane emissions at the international level. All natural and anthropogenic sources of this greenhouse gas must also be taken into account, including the mining of coal and other minerals.

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