“In the next few decades, we may have nothing to have a greater impact on lowering peak temperatures than removing methane,” said Rob Jackson, A Stanford University researcher and co-author of two studies.
Methane is relatively scarce: the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about 200 times that of it. Nevertheless, according to a recent report, its contribution to total global warming so far is about 30%, or about 0.5 degrees Celsius. report From the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Although its life span in the atmosphere is only about 10 years, in a short period of time, its greenhouse gas intensity is about 86 times that of carbon dioxide.
“Methane will disappear, but at the same time, it will cause problems,” said Vasari Naik, An atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.
Due to its short lifespan, if methane emissions are reduced today, atmospheric levels will drop rapidly.recently United Nations Environment Programme report on methane Naik co-authored with others. Researchers estimate that reducing methane emissions by 45% today could reduce the warming by 0.28 degrees Celsius by mid-century-the goal of bringing global warming below the pre-industrial level of 1.5 degrees Celsius, as defined by the Paris Agreement Like that.
Naik said that using off-the-shelf solutions can achieve about two-thirds of the reduction. This includes plugging leaking natural gas wells and reducing dependence on coal mines, which release methane stored below the surface, which is produced when plants are converted into coal. She said that reducing some emissions may be cheaper and easier than expanding removal technology.
But to control the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, it is also necessary to reduce methane emissions from industries such as agriculture-which may become more difficult as the population grows.