NIGERIA: A 45 per cent reduction of methane emissions would prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 25 million tonnes of crop losses annually, the Global Methane Assessment has disclosed.
The Assessment was released on Thursday by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
It states that reducing methane emission is the strongest control to slow climate change over the next 25 years adding that this would complement the necessary efforts made to lessen carbon dioxide.
At the release of the assessment, the Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen acknowledged that cutting methane will benefit the economies of nations urging countries to support the reduction of methane emissions.
“Cutting methane is the strongest control we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years and complements necessary efforts to reduce carbon dioxide.
“The benefits to society, economies, and the environment are numerous and far outweigh the cost. We need international cooperation to urgently reduce methane emissions as much as possible this decade”, she said.
The Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change, Rick Duke noted that the United States is committed to driving down methane emissions both at home and globally.
He added that through measures like research and development, standards to control fossil and landfill methane, and incentives to address agricultural methane.
Duke said, “Methane accounts for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions and, now that the world is acting to phase down hydrofluorocarbons through the Montreal Protocol, it is by far the top priority short-lived climate pollutant that we need to tackle to keep 1.5˚C within reach.”
The Chair of the Assessment for the CCAC pleaded with governments at all levels to take a step in reducing methane emissions adding that this is an urgent call that needs to be taken seriously.
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Shindell who is a Professor of Climate Science at Duke University said, “To achieve global climate goals, we must reduce methane emissions while also urgently reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
“The good news is that most of the required actions bring not only climate benefits but also health and financial benefits, and all the technology needed is already available.”
Methane is a key component in the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), a powerful climate forcer and hazardous air contaminant.
Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, responsible for about 30 per cent of warming since pre-industrial times.
Most human-caused methane emissions come from three sectors which include fossil fuels, waste, and agriculture.
According to the assessment, in the fossil fuel sector, oil and gas extraction, processing, and distribution account for 23 per cent, and coal mining account for 12 per cent of emissions.
In the waste sector, landfills and wastewater make up about 20 per cent of emissions while in the agricultural sector, livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation represent roughly 32 per cent and rice cultivation 8 per cent of emissions.
According to data recently released by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA ), the quantity of methane in the atmosphere has shot up
The Global Methane Assessment
The Global Methane Assessment was compiled by an international team of scientists using state-of-the-art composition and climate models and policy analyses from four leading research centres to create the most comprehensive benefits and costs analysis of methane mitigation options assembled to date.
The assessment analyses national level impacts for every country and regional mitigation potential to help policymakers assess global and local costs, which sectors to target, and the effects of methane reductions.
It also found that the mitigation potential of methane varies between countries and regions.
In the assessment, it was discovered that the largest potential of mitigating methane in Europe and India is in the waste sector, in China, it is from coal production followed by livestock, while in Africa it is from livestock followed by oil and gas.
The Assessment further disclosed that the Asia-Pacific region, excluding China and India, it is coal and waste, and in the Middle East, North America and Russia/Former Soviet Union it is from oil and gas.
What Governments are doing to reduce Methane
Recently, there seems to be a growing ambition by the government to reduce methane. In the U.S, the U.S Senate on April 29 passed a bi-partisan vote to reinstate Obama-era regulations to control leaks from oil and gas wells.
This would require companies to monitor, plug and capture methane from new drilling sites.
During President Joe Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22 – 23, leaders called for methane reductions.
Russia President Vladimir Putin called for global action on methane as he said that it would be important to develop broad and effective international cooperation in the calculation and monitoring of all polluting emissions into the atmosphere.
Vietnam President, Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that Vietnam plans to reduce methane emissions from agriculture by 10 per cent by 2030.