Methane emissions are driving the warming of the planet faster than carbon dioxide https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00312-2. To track and measure these emissions, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the International Methane Emissions Observatory in October 2021. It catalogues discharges from the fossil fuel sector, together with waste and agricultural releases. These gases are responsible for more than 25 per cent of the global warming.
The oil and gas industries are major producers of methane, emitting the gas during drilling, production, and other parts of their operations. Methane is also sometimes released intentionally from oil and gas facilities for safety reasons.
The agriculture sector is also a large emitter of methane, particularly from livestock and the growing of certain foods, such as rice. Waste is the third most common man-made source of methane as bacteria break down organic matter in landfills.
At COP 27 the UNEP announced the launch of a new satellite-based system designed to detect methane emissions. UNEP will use the satellite detection to notify governments and companies of methane leaks, helping them to take action. Just how successful this useful initiative turns out remains to be seen.
Meanwhile methane emissions in the UK could be cut by more than 40% by 2030 with a raft of inexpensive policies, according to an environmental think-tank. The government had pledged to cut emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the global heating power of CO2, by at least 30% by 2030. But as yet no specific proposals have been put forward by them to achieve the cuts and the lack of action by ministers risks the UK losing its reputation as a global leader in methane reductions, says the think-tank Green Alliance.
The report https://green-alliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Global-methane-pledge.pdf urged the government to adopt measures to cut methane in the agriculture and land use sector, which makes up more than half of the total methane produced in the UK.
By feeding dairy cows the methane reducing supplement Bovaer/3-NOP, improving management of slurry, and encouraging the consumption of alternative proteins, as well as fruit and vegetables, the UK could shave a further 15% off its methane emissions, the report said.
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