DEEPTI’S RESEARCH DISPATCH

Managing Methane Can Buy Us Time

To make much-needed cuts to our carbon dioxide emissions. Research Tidbit #7

Deepti Kannapan
5 min readApr 13, 2022

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Photo by Håkon Grimstad on Unsplash

As a part of my sustainability reading project, I’m reading the UN 2021 Emissions Gap Report. Previously, I read the introductory chapters and decided to read the remaining chapters out of order.

I started with the Methane chapter because it looked the most interesting from a solutions perspective. And not just to me, by the way.

Reduction of methane emissions from the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors can contribute significantly to closing the emissions gap and reduce warming in the short term. […]. Strong abatement potential exists at net-negative and low costs […]. [Emphasis mine.]

I think that’s what excited UN authors sound like.

What I knew going in

I hadn’t paid much attention to methane (CH4).

I knew it was a greenhouse gas, but carbon dioxide (CO2) gets most of the attention, which makes sense since it is the biggest contributor to global warming.

I didn’t have any attention to spare for two greenhouse gases (GHG); I was already obsessing over the first one.

However, methane is the next-biggest contributor, accounting for a third of the warming impact from GHGs, and the important thing I learned is that there are a ton of relatively easy to implement solutions here.

What I wanted to know

So what are these low-cost solutions? And how can we get involved?

What I read

The chapter is called ‘The role of anthropogenic [ie. human-caused] methane emissions in bridging the emissions gap’.

All the quotes in this article are from the Emissions Gap Report.

What I learned

Where methane comes from

Of the methane that’s emitted into the atmosphere, 40% comes from natural sources, like wetlands and wild animals.

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Deepti Kannapan

Painter, occasional cartoonist, aerospace engineer. Writes about sustainable technology, creativity, and journaling.