A new report on global methane emissions has been published today by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) underlining the significant role that methane plays in climate change and air pollution and the importance of reducing emissions of this extremely powerful greenhouse gas.
Welcoming today’s report, EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said:
This UN report highlights just how damaging methane can be to climate, environment and people’s health, and underlines the urgent need to act. The EU got the ball rolling last October with the EU methane strategy. The European Commission will adopt legislative proposals before the end of the year to make measurement, reporting, and verification compulsory for all energy-related methane emissions in addition to broader measures to decarbonise the gas sector. It was encouraging to see that so many countries raised this issue at last month’s Earth Day Summit, as we also need progress at international level.
Earlier this year, the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) was established by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) with support from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, as announced in the EU methane strategy. The observatory will collect and verify methane emissions data to provide the international community with an improved understanding of global emissions and where abatement action should be focused.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its overall contribution to climate change. On a molecular level, methane is more powerful than carbon dioxide. Although it remains for a shorter time in the atmosphere, it has a significant effect on the climate and contributes to tropospheric ozone formation, a potent local air pollutant which itself causes serious health problems. Methane emissions are therefore highly relevant to 2050 climate objectives.
Approximately one third of global anthropogenic methane emissions come from the energy sector. The International Energy Agency estimates that 40% of those emissions can be mitigated at no net cost, given that methane is a saleable product in the form of natural gas. According to the UN Global Methane Assessment released today, methane emissions associated with human activity can be reduced by up to 45% this decade. Such reductions would mitigate global temperature change by nearly 0.3°C by 2045 and would be consistent with keeping the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5˚C within reach.
EU methane strategy (document in all EU languages)
6 mai 2021