Carbon Dioxide emissions are a high profile greenhouse gas problem, but did you know about methane too?
Today’s action is piece of learning; make yourself aware of the damage being done by methane emissions and their contribution to global warming by watching this short video Methane: The Climate Monster.
While there is much talk about carbon dioxide emissions and climate change, one thing that doesn’t get as much media attention is the effect of other greenhouse gases, particularly methane.
Methane is one of the major greenhouse gases. In fact it is about 80 times more potent in trapping heat than carbon dioxide and has been estimated to have caused at least 30% of global heating to date. Methane also contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, which is another greenhouse gas as well as a hazardous air pollutant; exposure to ozone causes over 1 million premature deaths every year.
Where does methane come from?
There are both natural and human sources of methane emissions. The main natural sources include wetlands and oceans. Natural sources create about 40% of methane emissions and are (normally) completely offset by natural methane sinks and balanced out by natural processes.
Human-related activities emit the other 60% or so of methane. Extraction, distribution and combustion of coal, natural gas and oil releases most methane, followed by farming and livestock and then agriculture – mainly rice cultivation.
Also, the decomposition of organic materials in our landfill dumps emits a significant amount of methane into the atmosphere.
Why does methane matter?
Slashing methane emissions can effectively tackle climate change – especially in the short term since methane has a much shorter life span (about 10 to 12 years) before breaking down in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide can remain for over 200 years.
Personal individual decisions do have a huge impact and our collective actions can bring about positive changes across the world to win this battle against climate change. We can all help by taking the actions on this site and in our library, aiming to conserve energy, use greener forms of transport, consume less dairy and meat, shifting towards plant-rich diets, reducing our plastic footprints, eliminating food waste, and much more.
Please learn more about the consequences of methane emissions. You can start by watching this really informative video from COP26 in Glasgow.