C. Bertram, S. Smith, S. Kennedy, H. Liu, J. Behrendt, H. McJeon, R. Cui, and N. Hultman (2023). “Ramping up methane emissions reductions in this decade: Implications of methane emissions for near- and medium-term warming.” Center for Global Sustainability, University of Maryland.
- Maximum and immediate methane abatement is crucial to limiting temperature increase over the next 12 years, helping achieve global climate goals, and averting the worst impacts of climate change. Swift action to reduce methane emissions, largely from oil and gas operations, can slash global methane emissions by over 120 million metric tons in 2030 from 2020 levels and achieve an ambitious goal of 30% methane emissions reductions by 2030 from 2020 levels.
- A reduction of 120 million metric tons of methane corresponds to 3.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent over a 100-year timeframe. However, this understates methane’s actual near-term impact. If we use a more appropriate short-term metric of a 20-year global warming potential (GWP 20), methane reductions over the next twenty years make up nearly 50% of the needed emissions progress until 2030 (accounting for 10 of 21 gigatons carbon dioxide equivalent using GWP20). GWP20 reflects the impact of current methane emissions on climate behavior in the 2030s.
- A robust and effective strategy to meet this ambitious goal includes a reduction of oil and gas emissions by about 85%, reducing coal methane emissions by at least 50%, and reducing landfill methane emissions by at least 25%.
- Immediate methane action alongside carbon dioxide mitigation is essential to slow our approach to 1.5°C and reduce a global temperature overshoot. Cutting methane by 30% would avoid a near-term temperature increase of 0.06°C by 2035—or a rise of 0.28°C instead of 0.34°C without focused methane abatement—marking a tangible shift toward a cooler, more sustainable planet.
- Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is critical to long-term climate stabilization but has only a small impact in the near term due to the longer lifetime of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the offsetting role of cooling aerosols. Rapid abatement of both methane and carbon dioxide over the next decade can moderate near-term temperature change and deliver longer-term temperature stabilization compared to focusing on only methane or carbon dioxide abatement.
- Research, demonstration, and above all, deployment within the next few years is crucial to enable near-term methane reductions. New policies and, in some cases, financial assistance will be needed. But even with today's landscape, we can confidently say that reducing industrial methane emissions from factories, mines, wells, and more is the single biggest deployable, practical, and affordable emissions reduction strategy available to reduce climate risk from 2025-2035.
- In the urgent battle against climate change, reducing global methane emissions makes a particularly important near-term impact on mitigation efforts and provides health, environmental, and societal benefits. Unlike carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions, which linger for centuries, methane's ~10-year lifespan means that slashing its emissions by 30% by 2030—the established goal of the Global Methane Pledge—can rapidly curb the short-term rate of global temperature warming. To understand the impact of such a global effort, we analyze what cutting methane emissions by 30% over the next decade could do for global temperature rise compared to focusing only on reducing CO₂ and associated greenhouse gases (GHG).
The new study, which integrates previous work, reexamines what cutting methane emissions by 30% over the next decade could do for global temperature rise compared to focusing only on reducing CO₂ and associated greenhouse gasses. The study finds that even if CO₂ emissions were to steadily decrease and the planet reach net-zero around 2050, over half of the global temperature decrease by 2045 would have come from dedicated methane abatement. Additionally, a 30% reduction in methane emissions over the next 12 years would limit global temperature rise to 0.28°C instead of 0.34°C without dedicated methane abatement. Furthermore, the analysis found, rapid methane and CO₂ abatement over the next decade can moderate near-term temperature change and deliver longer-term temperature stabilization compared to focusing only on methane or CO₂.