Global methane (CH₄) emissions are rising
Global methane (CH₄) emissions are rising. But is this true for all regions? Are humans responsible for these increases or are natural processes driving this change? Is there a way to stop this rise? In a recent paper, Stavert and co-workers show that humans are responsible for recent increases but regional trends suggest that decreases are possible.
Human sources are responsible for a ~10% increase in global emissions between 2000 and 2017 through agriculture, waste disposal and fossil fuels. Methane emissions have increased in almost all parts of the globe with some areas (China and the Middle East) increasing at more than double the global rate. Chinese coal alone accounts for ~15% of the global emissions increase.
Excitingly, some regions show a decrease in CH4 emissions. European agricultural and waste disposal policies along with a decline in fossil fuel usage have driven a 10-20% reduction in CH4 emissions across Europe. In Japan, the increased adoption of renewable energy, a switch toward nuclear power and increases in energy efficiency have contributed to a ~10% emission reduction in the Japan & Korea region. These reductions provide hope that with the right combination of policy, economic and societal change CH4 emissions can be tamed.
Data used in this study was collected as part of the global methane budget. It consisted of a combination of the latest methane emission estimates, made using atmospheric observations, process-models and inventories. This regional analysis is featured in NASA’s recent visualisation.
Regional trends and drivers of the global methane budget Stavert et. al. (2021)
Article by: Ann Stavert (GASLAB)