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DATA STORY : Global Methane Emission

  • Published
    3rd Mar, 2022

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.

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. 

Approximately 60 percent of total global methane emissions come from anthropogenic sources. Of these, more than 90 percent originate from three sectors: fossil fuels, ~35 per cent; agriculture, ~40 per cent; and waste, ~20 per cent.

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.

The US-EU-led move to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas - up to a third by the end of this decade - at the climate summit at Glasgow is notable and forward-looking.

This data story gives insights about the methane emissions, globally.

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