Today, the United States, the European Union, and partners formally launched the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce global methane emissions to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5⁰C) within reach. A total of over 100 countries representing 70% of the global economy and nearly half of anthropogenic methane emissions have now signed onto the pledge.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) welcomed the commitment by countries that signed onto the Global Methane Pledge to collectively reduce human-caused methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. The Coalition called it a necessary action to keep warming to 1.5⁰C and an important complement to global efforts to decarbonize.
Martina Otto, Acting Head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat said: “This pledge comes at a critical moment for the earth’s climate. The world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years to meet the goal of the Paris Agreement and keep global warming to 1.5°C this century. Given methane’s short lifetime in the atmosphere and its high global warming potential, reducing its emissions can help reduce the rate of warming this decade. Reducing methane is an essential complement to global efforts to de-carbonize.
“The Global Methane Pledge is a strong first step, putting the spotlight on methane action. The at least 30% target serves as an ambitious floor to start from and there are ready-to-go technical solutions that we can start deploying immediately that will help us achieve it. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition has ten years’ experience working to reduce methane from all major emitting sectors, and we look forward to working with all countries to plan for and start implementing methane reductions.”
To support global efforts to reduce methane the CCAC will, at its Climate and Clean Air Ministerial at COP26, launch its Methane Flagship, to foster and strengthen high level commitments to reduce methane. The Flagship will amplify and raise awareness, support planning and delivery of strategies and plans, provide analysis and tools to support action, and scale up financing to reduce methane.
In May 2021, the CCAC and the United Nations Environment Programme released a Global Methane Assessment, which shows that human-caused methane emissions can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade. Such reductions would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045. It also identifies readily available measures that specifically target methane, in the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors.
Drew Shindell, Special Advisor on Methane Action to the CCAC and Nicholas Professor of Earth Sciences at Duke University, is the lead author on the Global Methane Assessment. He said: “Methane mitigation is one of the largest and fastest climate actions the world can take this decade and must go hand-in-hand with increased efforts to reduce carbon dioxide. Both gases must be reduced if we are to put the world on a sustainable and least-cost path to 1.5⁰C.
“The reductions needed to achieve the pledge’s goal could be achieved almost completely through existing and cost-effective measures that directly target the main anthropogenic sources of methane. These include leak detection and repair for oil and gas systems, increased recovery of gas currently flared or vented from oil and gas operations and transport, oxidation of methane vented from coal mines, capture, and use of methane from solid waste and manure, and improved water management in rice cultivation. The benefits of acting far outweigh the costs. The Global Methane Pledge is a new and critical front in global efforts to tackle the climate crisis and I encourage all countries to join it.”
The benefits of collectively achieving the Global Methane Pledge’s goal are significant. By 2030, every year 205,000 premature deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and 624,000 asthma-related emergency room visits and respiratory-related hospital admissions would be avoided. Crop yields of wheat, soy, maize, and rice would increase by millions of tons. By 2040, 60 billion lost work hours from heat exposure would be avoided each year. And by 2050 the pledge would prevent 0.22 degrees Celsius in warming.
Global philanthropies have committed $328 million in funding to support scale up of these types of methane mitigation strategies worldwide. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, and the Green Climate Fund have committed to support the Pledge through both technical assistance and project finance. The International Energy Agency will also serve as an implementation partner.
The Global Methane Pledge specifically calls on signatories to “Commit to support existing international methane emission reduction initiatives, such as those of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Global Methane Initiative, and the relevant work of the United Nations Environment Programme, including the International Methane Emissions Observatory, to advance technical and policy work that will serve to underpin signatories’ domestic actions.”
The CCAC is a global leader in efforts to reduce methane and works directly with countries to implement methane reduction measures in all major emitting sectors agriculture, fossil fuels, and waste. The Coalition cooperates closely with the Global Methane Initiative and the International Methane Emissions Observatory.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a global partnership of 73 countries, 19 intergovernmental organizations and 59 NGOs committed to catalyzing concrete, substantial action to reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons, and tropospheric (ground level) ozone. Its Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme.
The supporters of the Global Methane Pledge include the U.S., the EU, and the following 103 countries: