The known members so far include the United States, the European Union, the UK, Mexico, and South Korea. This announcement comes ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow that is planned for November.
By announcing the pledge early, more nations are likely to announce their support for it during the conference.
The World Needs to Cut Methane Emissions to Stave Off Climate Change
While most focus on carbon emissions, methane emissions are causing climate change to accelerate.
To put it simply, carbon emissions last longer in our atmosphere by hundreds of years. Whereas methane emissions typically last for around a decade. Despite this, methane emissions are 80 times more potent than carbon in terms of heat-trapping.
Currently, the world is warming at a faster rate than scientists ever thought it would, and the record-setting temperatures are the best proof. With the current pledges in mind, the world is likely to increase the global average by 2.7C.
Significant action needs to be taken to slow this down, and a significant reduction in methane emissions can help.
However, with only the announcement of the pledge going on, the information on how the world is going to achieve this is unclear. And getting more nations on board is going to be a key factor.
In any event, more details are likely to be revealed during the climate conference.
A Complete Reversal From the Last Decade
If the world can achieve a 30% cut in methane emissions, it would be a complete reversal.
For the past decade, methane emissions have been rising. Even if the pledge goal is too ambitious, which it isn’t, any form of a decrease would be a huge game-changer and would break the previous cycle.
The problem is that the world can only control some of the emissions.
For instance, wetlands produce 30% of the world’s methane emissions, while oil and gas produce 20%. This is because microorganisms and plants metabolize under anaerobic conditions in these environments.
This produces methane.
This is actually why hydropower has come under some scrutiny because the reservoirs it creates actually are a source of methane.
There are also other sources like agriculture and livestock, which make up 24%. This isn’t a simple fix as the world needs food, but changing the methods we use to grow it can take time.
Not to mention trying to stop a cow from farting isn’t feasible.
Air Quality Will Also Improve Due to the Cut
Apart from fighting climate change, a cut to methane emissions will help improve the air quality for millions.
Ozone is currently responsible for over one million premature deaths globally. And research has found that methane is responsible for half of these. This is because tropospheric ozone is a precursor gas of methane.
Overall, tighter regulations on methane emissions can help improve air quality and slow down climate change.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.