COP26: World leaders commit to reducing methane emission levels by 30% by 2030 in ‘game-changing engagement’ | Climate news

World leaders have promised to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 as part of efforts to tackle the climate crisis at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The Global Methane Pledge is an international initiative by the United States and the European Union to reduce methane emissions, an effective way to curb warming in the short term.

John Kerry, den Biden the administration’s climate envoy, said that more than 100 countries have joined the effort to meet the promise’s goals.

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John Kerry, United States Special Envoy for Climate Change, speaks at an event on ... Global Methane Pledge ... at the UN COP26 Climate Summit, Tuesday 2 November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (AP Photo / Evan Vucci) PHOTO: AP
John Kerry, the United States’ special presidential envoy for climate change, speaks at the Global Methane Pledge event

He spoke in front of US President Joe Biden and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen appeared together in Glasgow to announce the details of the far-reaching plan.

The Biden administration plans to tackle oil and gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure first as part of its broader strategy to crack down on climate change.

Its goal is to eliminate above 0.2 C of short-term warming by reducing global methane by at least 30% by 2030.

Although it sounds like a small change, it can have a significant impact on the severity and frequency of extreme weather events.

It will also significantly improve public health and agricultural productivity by reducing ground-level ozone pollution, which methane exacerbates.

Speaking to the summit, Mr Biden thanked those who had signed the “commitment to change games”.

He said: “What we do in this crucial decade … is going to affect whether we can meet our long-term commitment or not.

“One of the most important things we can do in this crucial decade to keep 1.5C within reach is to reduce our methane as quickly as possible.

“As has already been said, it is one of the most potent greenhouse gases available. That equates to about half of the warming we are experiencing today.”

US President Joe Biden speaks at the Global Methane Pledge event during COP26
US President Joe Biden speaks at the Global Methane Pledge event during COP26

Other highlights so far from the summit include:

“Developed nations’ $ 100 billion climate funding target could be reached a year earlier than expected,” said US climate envoy John Kerry thanks to a Japanese injection of money.

• More than 110 countries signed a commitment to stop and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030

• Over 40 world leaders plan to fund clean technology around the world by 2030, the UK government announced

• India finally emerges with net zero promise – 2070 date is 20 years after the key date of 2050 but the promise is still important as the country is the third largest emitter

• Boris Johnson warned that the 1.5C target is difference ‘between life and death’

• Greta Thunberg joined activists near the venue and said promises without real action “will not cut it anymore”

The queen issued a rallying cry to world leaders and said “the time for words has now moved to the time for action”

Sir. Biden added that the promise will make a “big difference”, not only when fighting climate change, but with individuals’ physical health.

During his two-day performance on summit in Glasgow, Mr Biden has promised to work with the EU and other nations to achieve this goal.

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, told the summit: “We all want to build a cleaner and healthier future for our children. That means we are making real climate efforts.”

He also told COP26 that there is no achievable global way to reach the 1.5C target “without deep cuts of methane over the next decade”.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, explained that reducing methane emissions is “one of the most effective things we can do” to curb climate change.

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‘Let’s keep 1.5 alive’

The promise is without a doubt the biggest single thing countries can do to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.

Methane is usually produced as a by-product of the oil and gas industry, but if captured, it can be used as fuel for power plants and household purposes.

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Invisible and odorless, it is considered to be a major contributor to global warming and is much more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Experts believe that lowering methane levels can not only prevent the planet from getting warmer, but can actively lower global temperatures.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio attends the Global Methane Pledge event at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, 2 November 2021. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio attends the Global Methane Pledge event

Climate crisis in focus

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Commenting on the updated pledge announced today at COP26, Professor Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero at the University of Cambridge, said: “Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas, and rapid cuts would make a significant difference.

“It has contributed about 0.5 degrees to warming to date, and although it does not stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide for the first 20 years after its release, it is 80 times stronger when heated.

“Methane is an easy gain in terms of climate action: Cuts using existing technologies and the adoption of different land management practices can reduce global warming by 0.25 C by 2050 with little or no cost and help keep 1.5 alive.”

For full coverage of COP26, watch Climate Live on Sky Channel 525.

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