WASHINGTON (September 17, 2021)—Today, the United States, the European Union and other major economies announced a new pledge to reduce global methane emissions. The pledge calls for countries to commit to reducing methane by at least 30% by 2030, relative to 2020 levels. The pledge will be formalized at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland in November. Other countries are being encouraged to join.
Meeting the Global Methane Pledge targets will play an important role in slowing global warming over the next 20 years. Methane is the second most abundant human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) and is 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over 20 years in the atmosphere, and 34 times more powerful over 100 years. Because it exists for a relatively short time in the atmosphere, cutting methane provides a quick benefit in terms of limiting near-term temperature rise.
Most human-caused methane emissions stem from three sectors: agriculture (40%), energy (35%) and waste (20%). Studies estimate that ambitious actions to reduce methane can avoid 0.3C of warming by 2050.
Following is a statement from Helen Mountford, Vice President, Climate & Economics, World Resources Institute:
“Cutting methane emissions is essential to keep global warming from breaching 1.5C. This pledge from some of the world’s largest economies to cut methane emissions by at least 30% over the coming decade sets a strong floor in terms of the ambition we need globally.
“Strong and rapid action to cut methane emissions offers a range of benefits, from limiting near-term warming and curbing air pollution to improved food security and public health benefits. Countries signing on to this pledge will help drive collective action to curb methane emissions from energy, agriculture and waste — and help ensure a safer future for all. We have the tools and solutions at hand to drive the shifts we need in all these sectors, so let’s use them.
“Agriculture has a huge role to play in helping countries meet this pledge — like reducing food loss and waste, changing what we feed cows, and using more low-emission varieties of rice.”