Wed. May 29th, 2024

The time is flying by and climate change is clamping human lives in many more apparent ways than the last decade or maybe last year.

Every human and country, is trying its best to resist the changes and recover from the worst shocks of Nature before another wave strikes back and destabilize human lives and livelihoods.

Methane and the unregulated power to climate change:

Methane has been one of the major pollutants to have influenced and accelerated changes in human biosphere. It constitutes nearly one-fifth of the total global greenhouse gas emissions made by the world and continue to rise.

According to NOAA, methane emissions have even prospered during the time pandemic created an economic slowdown.

Earlier this year, UNEP used State-of-the-art composition, climate models and policy analysis to draw the benefits and cost analysis of Methane mitigation options.

This becomes necessary and troublesome to know that methane alone is responsible for 30 per cent of warming since pre-industrial times and has greater Global warming Potential GWP of 28–36 over 100 years.

This enables it to absorb even more energy than Carbon-di-oxide and absorb far more heat to increase global temperatures and further trigger ice melts, sea level rise, increased intensity and frequency of cyclones etc.

It is known that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere and it persists for long, individual methane molecules are known to render powerful warming effect on the atmosphere than single CO2 molecules.

Though Methane has shorter lifespan in the atmosphere, it is still 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, that too 20 years after being released into the atmosphere.

There has been a growing concern already with methane as a tool to buy extra time in preventing and denouncing our dependence on other fossil fuels and simply, averting a climate crisis.

Methane has been held responsible for 30 per cent of warming since pre-industrial times. The similar concern has been highlighted in IPCC’s recent report.

Methane, a component of natural gas, is one of the prominent greenhouse gases known for increasing the earth’s temperature.

It sources are profound, ranging from both human made and natural sources including landfills, wetlands, oil and natural gas processing systems, agricultural activities like rice farming, coal mining, wastewater treatment etc.

According to premium NASA studies, human activities account for 60 per cent of the total global methane emissions. These emissions, to be sure, arise from the burning of fossil fuels, decomposition of waste in landfills and the agriculture sector.

In this light, UN COP26 climate conference adopted Global Methane Pledge, a proposal led by United States and the European Union and now has been signed by more than 100 leaders of the world.

A statement was released: “Rapidly reducing methane emissions is complementary to action on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and is regarded as the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming in the near term and keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach”.

A bigger chunk of this agreement deals with ways to reduce methane emissions by up to 30 per cent as compared to 2020 levels, by the year 2030.

Why there is a need to regulate and control Methane emissions?

According to IEA, there are ways to control and lessen more than 75 per cent of methane emissions with various technologies available today.

It is worthy to note that up to 40 per cent of these technological processes require no additional costs at all.

However, on an average, UN notes that methane gets leaked at a rate of 2.3 per cent which continues to negate most of the climate benefits, natural gas has over coal.

One of these processes that abridges the gap between needs of human safety and an alternative allied fuel is CBM (Coal Bed Methane).

There is an available reservoir of methane gas in the bedrock of coal mines, which can be trapped and exploited as powerful energy source. Also, if not extracted, it can be dangerous to human lives working inside a mine as it is highly reactive and can explode.

This is done by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater. This causes a reduction in pressure which further releases methane from the coal bed.

Just like Shale gas, this exists within unconventional gas reservoirs, where gas lies within the rock: shale in case of shale gas and coal in case of CBM.

In 2019, the Indian Ministry of Coal suggested Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic metres) of CBM every day for the next 2 to 3 years in order to yield profits.

Is there a silver lining in this proposal?

However, this newly turned focus on Methane is a boon because as per US President Biden: “The pledge covers countries which emit nearly half of all methane, and make up 70% of global GDP”.

That is confidence boosting but a few major emitters like Russia, China, India have not pledged the same.


By Alaina Ali Beg

I am a lover of all arts and therefore can dream myself in all places where the World takes me. I am an avid animal lover and firmly believes that Nature is the true sorcerer.

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