Global Methane Emissions Hit All-Time High

Factories in the distance releases emissions into the air.
Lukas Schulze / Getty Images

Global methane emissions have reached a new all-time high, as reported by CNN. The main sources of these greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture and fossil fuels.

Researchers from the Global Carbon Project said that the current rate of emissions places us on a “dangerous temperature threshold.” The current rates of production of greenhouse gas could see the Earth’s temperature rise by three to four degrees by 2100. This means that natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, and forest fires will become more commonplace. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees.

Although carbon dioxide emissions dropped due to lockdowns enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is not enough to change the concentration of this gas in the atmosphere, according to National Geographic. Despite a 17 percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions in the first quarter of 2020 when compared to last year, this will have a negligible effect on concentrations in the atmosphere due to how long the gas lingers.

Cattle ranching, in particular, contributed the most to methane production, with the agriculture industry as a whole contributing two-thirds of emissions. The remaining third is from burning fossil fuels. While carbon dioxide emissions dropped during the pandemic, the same cannot be said for methane, according to CNN.

Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Oceania have had the largest increases in methane production, but the U.S. is not far behind. The increase in the U.S. is attributed to people using natural gas rather than coal. While natural gas releases less carbon dioxide, it produces more methane. Methane is more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, which makes the rise concerning. Europe was the only region to lower methane emissions.

Climate change protest in Washington DC
  Astrid Riecken / Getty Images

Researchers said that in order to lower methane emissions, the use of fossil fuel needs to be reduced. It’s also important to monitor and control emissions from pipes and wells that are leaking. In particular, how we consume and grow food needs to change. Researchers suggested supplementing cattle feed with algae to reduce the amount of methane created from flatulence. Furthermore, one of the key reasons veganism has been growing in popularity is for environmental purposes by avoiding animal agriculture.

Burger King has pledged to reduce methane emissions from their cows by 33 percent by adding lemongrass to their feed. The franchise has also introduced plant-based options on their menus such as the Impossible Whopper in the U.S. and the Rebel Whopper in European restaurants.

Yesterday, Greta Thunberg showed support for climate activists in the Philippines as the country introduced a new anti-terrorism law, which may prevent protests from happening, as reported by The Inquisitr.