Global Methane Assessment Report 2021

A report titled “Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions” was released by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The report of Global Methane Assessment suggests that to avoid the worst of climate change the world needs to dramatically cut methane emissions.

The topic is important from the current affairs point of view in the IAS exam as well as the other competitive exams. 

Aspirants can go through various other reports/indices on the environment given below relevant for exam preparation – 

Global Methane Assessment 2021 Report – Key Findings

  1. Since record-keeping began in the 1980s, human-caused methane emissions are increasing faster currently than at any other time.
  2. The level of Carbon dioxide has dropped during the (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the level of methane in the atmosphere has reached record levels last year (2020).
  3. This is a cause of concern as methane is a very powerful Greenhouse Gas and has been responsible for about 30% of warming since pre-industrial times.

Methane Emission Reduction Need & Benefits

  1. Human-caused methane emissions must be reduced by at least 45% to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Reduction in methane emissions can rapidly reduce the rate of warming in the near term as the gas breaks down quickly.
  2. A 45% cut in the emission of Methane would prevent a rise in global warming by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2045.
  3. Methane emission reduction will also prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits annually, as well as 25 million tonnes of crop losses.
Aspirants can check their preparation by attempting the UPSC Previous Years Question Papers now!!

To complement your preparation for the upcoming exam, check the following links:

Major Sources of Methane Emission & Mitigation

More than half of global methane emissions stem from human activities in three sectors: fossil fuels (35%), waste (20%) and agriculture (40%). 

  • Fossil Fuel – 
    • Oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution accounted for 23% of methane emissions in the fossil fuel sector. Coal mining accounted for 12% of emissions.
    • Fossil fuel has the greatest potential for low-cost methane cuts, up to 80% of measures in the oil and gas industry could be implemented at negative or low cost.
    • About 60% of methane cuts in this sector could make money as reducing leaks would make more gas available for sale.

You can read in detail about the Coal bed Methane which is considered a clean energy source. 

  • Agricultural sector – 
    • Livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation represent roughly 32% and cultivation of rice accounts for 8% of global anthropogenic emissions.
    • Few behavioral changes such as reducing food waste and loss, improving livestock management and adopting healthy diets could reduce methane emissions by 65 to 80 million tonnes per year over the next few decades.
  • Waste sector –
    • Landfills and wastewater make up about 20% of global anthropogenic emissions. By improving the disposal of sewage around the world could cut the methane emission from the waste sector. 

Emission Reduction Potential – Global Methane Assessment Report

The methane mitigation potential varies sector and country-wise:

  1. India has great potential to reduce methane emissions in the waste sector.
  2. China can best mitigate the methane emission in the coal production and livestock.
  3. Europe has the greatest potential to reduce methane emissions in farming, fossil fuel operations and waste management. The European commission has adopted European Union Methane Strategy for the same. To know more about the European Union visit the linked page.
  4. Africa has the best mitigation potential in livestock, followed by oil and gas.

Check out the relevant links for comprehensive preparation  – 

Indian Government Initiative to Reduce Methane Emissions

  1. National Action Plan on Climate Change – Launched in 2008 NAPCC aims at creating awareness on the threat posed by climate change and the steps to counter it among the representatives of the public, different agencies of the government, scientists, industry and the communities. To know further about the National Action Plan on Climate Change- NAPCC visit the linked page. 
  2. Seaweed-Based Animal Feed – In collaboration with the country’s three leading institutes the Central Salt & Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI) developed a seaweed-based animal feed additive formulation that aims to reduce methane emissions from cattle and also boost immunity of cattle and poultry.
  3. Bharat Stage-VI Norms – India shifted from BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms. With the implementation of the new norms, pollution levels are expected to reduce to a large extent as the particulate matter (PM) concentration should decrease. Know in detail about the Bharat StageVI Norms on the given link. 
  4. India Greenhouse Gas Program: The India GHG Program builds comprehensive measurement and management strategies to reduce emissions and drive more profitable, competitive and sustainable businesses and organizations in India. The program is led by WRI India (non-profit organization), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) an industry-led voluntary framework to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions.

Know About Methane and Its impact

  1. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas found in small quantities in Earth’s atmosphere.
  2. It is the simplest hydrocarbon, consisting of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4).
  3. It is a colorless, odorless, and highly flammable gas used as fuel worldwide.
  4. Natural sources of methane include – emissions from wetlands and oceans, and from the digestive processes of termites. It is produced by the breakdown or decay of organic material.
  5. Human activities such as rice production, landfills, raising cattle and other ruminant animals, and energy generation are also sources of methane.

Impact of Methane on Atmosphere

  1. It is a dangerous air pollutant and is responsible for creating ground-level ozone. Read in detail about Ozone layer depletion and prevention on the linked page. 
  2.  Methane doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere before it breaks down and is 84 times more potent than carbon., which makes it a critical target for reducing global warming more quickly while simultaneously working to reduce other greenhouse gases.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition – CCAC

  1. CCAC was launched in 2019, committed to protecting the climate and improving air quality through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
  2. It is a voluntary partnership between intergovernmental organizations, governments, scientific institutions, businesses, and civil society organizations.
  3. India is a member of the climate and Clean Air Coalition – CCAC.

FAQ about Global Methane Assessment Report

What is the biggest cause of methane gas?

The largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions is agriculture, responsible for around a quarter of the total, closely followed by the energy sector, which includes emissions from coal, oil, natural gas and biofuels.

How does methane affect plants and animals?

Methane emissions are also very harmful to plants because the gas increases surface ozone that causes harmful chlorosis, or a yellowing of the leaves.High enough concentrations in the air can result in suffocation for animals and other air breathing organisms.

Aspirants can also get a comprehensive list of Reports Published by International Organisations at the linked article. 

Get the detailed UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination and start your Civil Services Exam preparation accordingly. 

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