The United States and the European Union are working together to significantly reduce global emissions of the greenhouse gas methane. US President Joe Biden made the announcement ahead of the COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow in November.
“We are committed to a global initiative with the European Union and other partners to ensure international methane emissions are at least 30 percent lower by 2030 than they will be in 2020,” Biden said at a World Economic Forum digital summit. According to the US President, by reducing methane emissions, global warming can be significantly slowed and this will be beneficial to public health.
Biden called on states to show maximum ambition at the upcoming climate summit. He described the goal of reducing methane emissions by about a third as “ambitious but realistic”. The EU has yet to respond to Biden’s goal.
During the climate summit in Glasgow, the United States and the European Union want to try to get countries like China, Russia, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia behind the methane agreement.
Methane is released as a greenhouse gas in livestock farming, rice farming, thawing permafrost, mountain waste, and when fossil fuels are used. The view regarding methane emissions from livestock farming has changed recently.
methane in cycle
A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate report notes that livestock’s impact on methane emissions is overstated by three to four times. Scientists theorize that methane from a so-called “bio-origin” is part of a short cycle between livestock and forage crops. After some time, methane in the atmosphere decomposes into carbon dioxide, among other things, and this gas is absorbed as crops grow.
Methane from fossil sources is not part of such a cycle. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that emissions from road traffic are four to five times understated.
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