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Rising levels of Methane emission from Wetlands

  • Published
    23rd Mar, 2023

A recent study stated that Methane emissions from wetlands raised 5-6% from 2000-2006.

Findings of the report:

  • Methane emissions from wetlands rose at a rate of 1.3-1.4 teragrams (1 Tg equals 1,000,000 tonnes) per year from 2000 to 2021.
  • Emissions in 2020 and 2021 increased by 14-26 Tg per year and 13-23 Tg per year, respectively, compared to 2000-2006. 
  • Methane is responsible for roughly 30 per cent of the rise in temperature since the pre-industrial period. It is also 84 times more potent on a 20-year timescale.

About Methane:

  • Methane, a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) with an atmospheric lifetime of roughly a decade, is a potent greenhouse gas tens of times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere.
  • Methane’s atmospheric concentration has more than doubled since pre-industrial times and is second only to carbon dioxide in driving climate change during the industrial era.
  • Impact:
    • Methane contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, a dangerous air pollutant.
    • Ozone attributable to anthropogenic methane emissions causes approximately half a million premature deaths per year globally and harms ecosystems and crops by suppressing growth and diminishing production.
  • Sources:
    • Approximately 60 per cent of total global methane emissions come from anthropogenic sources.
    • Of these, more than 90 per cent originate from three sectors:
      • fossil fuels- 35 per cent;
      • agriculture- 40 per cent;
      • Waste- 20 per cent
    • Wetlands like swamps, marshes, permafrost (permanently frozen ground), bog and fens are responsible for a third of total methane emissions.
  • Reducing human-caused methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and contribute significantly to global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Steps were taken to Curb Methane Emissions:

  • COP 26 Pledges: At COP26 in Glasgow, over 100 countries signed an agreement to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
  • MethaneSAT: Controlling methane emissions will require further scrutiny of its sources. To this end, satellites that will track methane leakage such as MethaneSAT have been planned to launch.
  • The International Energy Forum (IEF) launched the IEF Methane Initiative in June 2021 to develop a methane emissions measurement methodology.
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