Why do Methane Emissions Need Urgent Attention?

When a Vietnamese carmaker announces its debut in the US market to take on biggies like Tesla, it becomes a news headline. World leaders’ ambitious pledge to cut carbon emissions, too, becomes news. But what about a recent UN-backed study that urges the world to also focus on methane emissions? Well, that doesn’t make as much noise as EVs or the Climate Summit 2021. There is a compelling reason why the subject of methane emissions does deserve its share of attention.

Why did this study have to exclusively highlight methane? May be because when US President Joe Biden convened the Climate Summit last month, world leaders were primarily concerned about cutting carbon emissions, and methane’s role as a pollutant was dwarfed.

It’s not that policy makers are doing nothing. In the US, the Senate last month revived the Obama-era methane regulation. What this means is that oil and gas producers in the US will have to once again start monitoring any methane leaks from their facilities and fix it without delay. These companies were given a free hand in this respect by the Donald Trump administration, something the Senate has now reversed.

This shows the administration does realize the importance of cutting down methane emissions. After all, methane is 84 per cent more potent than CO2, and its share in total greenhouse gases emissions in the US is 10 per cent.


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