More than 30 countries join US pledge to reduce methane emissions

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Monday announced that 32 countries have joined the United States in pledging to cut methane emi...


WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Monday announced that 32 countries have joined the United States in pledging to cut methane emissions, as part of an effort to set new targets to slow global warming before a major United Nations climate summit in Glasgow next month.

Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, but much more potent in the short term in its ability to heat the planet. It is the main component of natural gas and is also released to the atmosphere from landfills, livestock and thawing permafrost.

The commitment, developed with the European Union, commits countries to reducing their methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

While the four biggest emitters of methane – China, India, Russia and Brazil – did not adhere to the pledge, the administration announced that nine of the world’s 20 biggest methane polluters had sign. In addition to United States and the European Union are Canada, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico, Nigeria, Argentina and Iraq.

The pledges come three weeks before President Biden and other world leaders are expected to attend the United Nations conference in Scotland, which aims to persuade countries to slow global warming so temperatures do not rise more than 1, 5 degree Celsius, compared to pre-Revolution industry levels.

This is the threshold beyond which scientists say the dangers of global warming – such as deadly heat waves, water shortages, poor harvests and collapsing ecosystems – increase dramatically. Average global temperatures have already risen by around 1.1 degrees Celsius.

John Kerry, Mr Biden’s climate envoy, said on Monday that scientists had discovered that methane emissions accounted for about half of that temperature increase. He called methane reduction “the fastest strategy we have to keep a safer 1.5 degree centigrade future within reach.”

The administration has estimated that if nations are successful, they will reduce global warming by 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Methane has a relatively short lifespan compared to carbon dioxide, which persists in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. But methane warms the atmosphere more than 80 times more than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

“Reducing methane pollution is the fastest opportunity we have to help avoid our most acute climate risks, including crop losses, forest fires, extreme weather and rising sea levels. sea ​​level, ”said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental group. declaration.

Inger Andersen, head of the United Nations Environment Program, told the online meeting that methane reduction was not a “no-get-out card”. It must complement efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, she said.

The technology currently exists to reduce global methane emissions from oil and gas operations by 75% by 2030, according to a report released last week by the International Energy Agency.

Currently, the United States regulates the methane released from new oil and gas wells. In the coming weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release methane regulations covering existing oil and gas wells.

The Biden administration also announced Monday that 20 philanthropic organizations have announced pledges of $ 223 million to support countries’ plans for the methane pledge.

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Newsrust - US Top News: More than 30 countries join US pledge to reduce methane emissions
More than 30 countries join US pledge to reduce methane emissions
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