Curbing methane emissions: How five industries can counter a major climate threat


As global temperatures continue to rise and physical climate hazards become increasingly frequent and intense, more and more organizations are committing to lower their greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Carbon dioxide commands much of their attention, but methane emissions from human activity are the second-largest driver of global warming, accounting for roughly 30 percent of the temperature increase from preindustrial levels. Curbing emissions of methane, therefore, will be critical to solving the net-zero equation—that is, reducing GHG emissions as much as possible, and counterbalancing any remaining emissions with GHG removals—and stabilizing the climate. The bad news is that methane emissions have risen by about 25 percent in the past 20 years. The current trajectory is far off the 2 percent annual decline that would be required to meet the 1.5°C or 2°C warming objectives of the Paris Agreement.1However, there are reasons for cautious optimism. New McKinsey research shows that five industries could reduce global annual methane emissions by 20 percent by 2030 and 46 percent by 2050—enough for a significant shift toward a 1.5°C warming pathway. What’s more, these reductions could be achieved largely with established technologies and at a reasonable cost. Continue...

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