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Methane, the other “climate killer” has long been ignored

Methane, the other “climate killer” has long been ignored

The UN has warned of the need to do more to combat global warming and prevent increased methane emissions. This greenhouse gas has long been neglected and obscured by the fight against CO2 emissions. However, it is a powerful pollutant that is easy and fast to act against.

Co.2 par ci CO2 Over there. Carbon dioxide Often monopolizes the discussion of global warming. States ’willingness to take concrete action on climate is generally assessed Based on their efforts to reduce this CO emissions2.

Methane (CH4), which the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) emphasized, should soon be forgotten. In a statement released Thursday, May 6th. This document discusses the alarming increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the increasing contribution of methane to global warming and, above all, measures to control methane emissions that can “earn points quickly and inexpensively” against greenhouse gas communication by the University of Manchester.

“Stop ignoring methane”

“Compared to CO2Methane, a molecule for molecules, is extremely harmful to the climate, “the expert warns.2, Which basically releases more into the human atmosphere, allowing gas to top the list of “climate killers”.

But Juan Nisbet, a researcher at the Royal Holloway University at the University of London, argues that “it is urgent to stop ignoring methane.” Methane is one of the key experts in climate impact, Contacted by France 24. By 2020, methane emissions were at an all-time high, with their increase not being affected by infection in any way, unlike CO2. In more detail, “The increase in carbon dioxide emissions compared to the routes established in COP21 in Paris (in 2015) is similar to what we imagined, but for methane, it increases much faster than we expected”, notes Juan Nisbet.

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In other words, “If we do not do much to control them, there is a risk that the increase in methane emissions will partially nullify the benefits of our efforts to reduce CO reduction.2“, Underscores Mariel Zunois, author-researcher at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, contacted by France.

Resisting CH4 emissions is a public health issue, underlining the UNDP report. “Methane plays an important role in air pollution. It contributes to the formation of ozone near the ground,” explains Juan Nisbet. Concentrations of this gas in the atmosphere promote ozone depletion, which can cause respiratory or heart problems. The UN estimates that reducing methane emissions will directly reduce the number of annual deaths from pollution.

The mystery of the beginning of XXIe Century

The bad news is that scientists are finding it difficult to accurately understand the reasons for the acceleration of methane emissions. 60% of them come from human activities, more precisely from agriculture, extraction and transportation of fossil fuels, methane leaks in industrial sites or pipelines, and open dumpsites where organic matter breaks down to form methane. Most of the rest comes from the tropics and wetlands in the swamps.

What worries scientists is that these emissions “experienced a period of quiet in the early 2000’s, and since 2007 they have begun to rise again without ever stopping,” Juan Nisbet explains. This mystery of the first decade of XXIe The century is not easily described: breeders did not multiply overnight, and it was not until 2007 that man stopped extracting oil or coal.

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The reasons that can be put forward are not very promising for the climate. One of them is the increase in “natural” methane emissions which is the main culprit of this development. This is not to destroy man’s habits of constantly emitting more methane into the atmosphere. But at the same time, the Earth would have added two of its coins to history, “primarily because of the expansion of wetlands in the tropics,” said Grand Allen of the University of Manchester.

“They have become hot and humid, the perfect environment for some micro-organisms to be big producers of methane,” the expert sums up. At the same time, the expansion of wetlands has led to the growth of agriculture in these regions of the world, which also contributes to methane production.

If these wetlands reach land, it could be “due to global warming, so a vicious circle has begun,” Grand Allen notes. Climate change has created conditions for increased methane emissions that contribute to global warming and many more.

In addition, there are still large methane reservoirs – especially in the Arctic region – waiting to be released as temperatures rise. “The whole question is, when did we get past the point of no return,” Grand Allen concludes.

Potential benefit effects over ten years

But the good news is that reducing methane emissions is easier and cheaper than CO emissions.2. The UNDP report emphasizes the continuing measures already known, which could reduce human emissions into the atmosphere by up to 45% by 2030. “It could reduce the temperature rise by 0.3 C, which is very important,” says Grand Allen.

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Businesses can easily plug in leaks, which release a significant portion of CH4 into the air, UN experts say.

Developing countries – often the first victims of the effects of global warming – are at the mercy of the goodwill of the major industrialized nations, the major emitters of CO.2. “They can have a real impact by covering up many open spaces where methane is a major source,” notes Juan Nisbet.

The advantage of these measures is that “their cost is very low for our way of life,” says Marielle Sonois. There is no question here about giving up your car or traveling less on the plane, but dealing with the problem of emissions or industrial leaks.

After all, the effect will be beneficial in the very short term. “Methane decomposes in the atmosphere in about ten years, so if we reduce emissions today, it will have an impact on a decade, while the life cycle of CO2 It is very long and can be calculated in hundreds of years, “Juan Nisbet recalled.