Methane emissions ‘could be slashed by 45% this decade to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C’

Governments need to focus their efforts on three sectors, fossil fuels, waste and agriculture, a UN report warns

The Big Zero report

Methane emissions from human activities could be cut by an estimated 45% to help to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Methane is a greenhouse gas which is responsible for around 30% of warming since the pre-industrial period, according to scientific research.

A new study by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) suggests the world needs to reduce methane emissions in the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors if it is to meet the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C.

The analysis stresses Europe and India have a large potential of methane reduction in the waste sector while China could cut emissions drastically from coal production and Africa from livestock and oil and gas.

The report notes a further 15% methane reduction by 2030 could happen if additional measures were prioritised by governments.

These include an accelerated shift to renewables, residential and commercial energy efficiency and a reduction in food loss and waste.

Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said: “Cutting methane is the strongest lever 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.”

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