Scientists sound the alarm on methane and other greenhouse gases

Washington DC - Climate solutions focus on CO2, but a new report puts the spotlight on other greenhouse gases.

Methane, or CH4, is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
Methane, or CH4, is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.  © REUTERS

Cutting emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases would be the perfect way to buy time to deal with the climate crisis, according to a study seen by researchers at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development in Washington DC.

The team behind the study found that CO2 takes the spotlight as the problem gas, but that other gases like methane heat the planet faster in the short term.

So, even though dropping all emissions is key, focusing on easy solutions like plugging methane leaks would do four times as much to drop temperatures than just cutting CO2.

Methane is potent stuff

Methane is around 80 times more potent than CO2 at warming the planet, with a shorter half-life, which is why it has such a huge impact in the short term.

The research team found that without dealing with other greenhouse gases, it would be nearly impossible to keep global temps from going over the 2 degrees Celsius mark, relative to pre-industrial levels.

That is widely seen as a worst-case scenario, so the study calls for more action on all greenhouse gases.

There is still the pledge from 2021's UN climate conference to drop methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade. However, even countries that signed the pledge, like the US, have serious methane leaks that haven't been regulated or dealt with.

Dealing with climate change means pulling out all the stops, and cutting all greenhouse emissions is essential if we're trying not to reach a tipping point.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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