COP26: The United States and the EU announced a plan to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030

COP26: The United States and the EU announced a plan to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030

The US president has pledged to work with more than 80 countries and the European Union to reduce total gas emissions in the world by 30% by 2030.

Photo: ERIN SCHAFF / AFP / Getty Images

The United States and the EU have announced a global partnership to reduce methane emissions, a greenhouse gas, by 2030.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and US President Joe Biden made the announcement at the COP26 summit on Tuesday.

The global commitment aims to limit methane emissions by 30% compared to 2020 levels. It is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases and responsible for a third of the current warming caused by human activities.

More than 100 countries have signed on to the initiative, which was first proposed by the United States and the EU in September.

The main goal of efforts to curb global warming is to stop emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is emitted as a result of human activities such as power generation and forest clearing.

However, more and more attention is being paid to methane as a way to buy more time to tackle climate change. Although there is more CO2 in the atmosphere and it stays longer, individual methane molecules have a more powerful warming effect in the atmosphere than individual CO2 molecules.

And although one of the main objectives of COP26 is getting countries to commit to achieving the zero emissions goal by 2050, which means not increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, both leaders stressed that it is necessary to act now.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, echoed his words, calling methane “one of the most powerful greenhouse gases in existence.”

The commitment encompasses to countries that emit almost half of all methane, and that represent 70% of world GDP, said the US president.

The rapidity with which the world has mobilized to tackle methane emissions raises the hope that the world is finally waking up to the enormous threat posed by warming gases.

Last August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that methane was responsible for a significant part of the one-degree Celsius increase the world has already experienced.

The objective is to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030. In the short term, the main objective will be the downsizing of the fossil fuel industry.

Scientists believe that the actions could help the world avoid a warming of 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2040. However, large emitters such as Russia, China and India are not part of the commitment.

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