Plan calls for 30% reduction by 2030
The U.S. and E.U. are working together to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, and they’re trying to get other countries on board as well.
“The short atmospheric lifetime of methane means that taking action now can rapidly reduce the rate of global warming,” reads a draft of the Global Methane Pledge, according to Reuters.
The gas can trap more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide can, but it also breaks down faster, so actions taken now to reduce the emission of methane can have visible short-term effects. In contrast, reduction in CO2 emissions, while vitally important, might take decades to halt or reverse warming trends.
Meat and dairy agriculture is a major contributor to methane emissions because cows release it into the atmosphere when they belch. The breakdown of trash in landfills is another big factor, as are oil and gas infrastructure and disused coal mines.
“This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit like improving public health and agricultural output,” President Joe Biden said at the virtual Major Economies Forum on Friday. “We’re mobilizing support to help developing countries that join and pledge to do something significant.”
Also in attendance were British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“We’ve already taken big steps domestically to tackle these emissions and create good paying jobs, introduced by plugging leaks and capping abandoned wells and gas wells,” Biden said Friday. “We believe the collective goal is both ambitious but realistic, and we urge you to join us in announcing this pledge at COP 26,” a U.N.-sponsored climate change conference to be held in November in Glasgow, Scotland.