Methane Emissions

  • IASbaba
  • February 2, 2023
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Context: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has invested in an Australian climate technology start-up that aims to curtail the methane emissions of cow burps, according to a report in the BBC.

About Methane:

  • Methane (CH4) is a hydrocarbon that is a primary component of natural gas.
  • Methane is also a greenhouse gas (GHG), so its presence in the atmosphere affects the earth’s temperature and climate system.
  • Methane (CH4) is a colourless, odourless and highly flammable gas.
  • Methane is the second most abundant anthropogenic GHG after carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for about 20 percent of global emissions.
  • China, the United States, Russia, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Mexico are estimated to be responsible for nearly half of all anthropogenic methane emissions.
  • Because methane is both a powerful greenhouse gas and short-lived compared to carbon dioxide, achieving significant reductions would have a rapid and significant effect on atmospheric warming potential.

Sources of Methane:

  • Globally, 50 to 65% of total methane emissions come from the following human-caused activities:
  • Raising livestock: Ruminants such as cows, sheep, goats, and buffaloes have a special type of digestive system that allows them to break down and digest food that non-ruminant species would be unable to digest.
    • Livestock emissions (from manure and gastroenteric releases) account for roughly 32 per cent of human-caused methane emissions.
  • Leaks from natural gas systems
  • Landfills and waste from homes and businesses
  • Agriculture is the predominant source.
  • Paddy rice cultivation in which flooded fields prevent oxygen from penetrating the soil, creating ideal conditions for methane-emitting bacteria – accounts for another 8 per cent of human-linked emission.

Consequences of Methane:

  • Potency: Methane is about 80 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
  • Ozone formation: Methane also contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas.
  • Global warming: Methane has accounted for roughly 30 per cent of global warming since pre-industrial times and is proliferating faster than at any other time since record keeping began in the 1980s.

Global and Indian Initiatives to tackle Methane Emissions

India Greenhouse Gas Program:

  • This Program is an industry-led voluntary framework aiming to help Indian companies monitor progress towards measurement and management of GHG emissions using tools and methodologies from WRI’s (World Resources Institute) GHG Protocol.

Harit Dhara:

  • The Harit Dhara is an anti-methanogenic feed supplement prepared from the Natural Phyto-sources.
  • It is found very effective in reducing the enteric methane emission upto 17% to 20% when incorporated in the livestock feed.

Methane Alert and Response System:

  • UNEP’s International Methane Emissions Observatory launched the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) at COP27, a new initiative to accelerate implementation of the Global Methane Pledge by transparently scaling up global efforts to detect and act on major methane emissions sources.

Global Methane Initiative:

  • It was launched in 2004.
  • It is an international public-private initiative that advances cost-effective, near-term methane abatement and recovery and use of methane as a valuable energy source in three sectors: biogas (including agriculture, municipal solid waste, and wastewater), coal mines, and oil and gas systems.
  • It focuses on collective efforts and a cost-effective approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase energy security, enhance economic growth, improve air quality and improve worker safety.
  • GMI includes 46 Partner Countries, which together represent approximately 75 percent of the world’s estimated man-made methane emissions.
  • Active involvement by private sector entities, financial institutions, and other non-governmental organizations is essential to build capacity, transfer technology, and promote private investment.

Global Methane Pledge:

  • The Global Methane Pledge was launched at COP26 in November 2021 to catalyse action to reduce methane emissions.
  • Led by the United States and the European Union, the Pledge now has 111 country participants who together are responsible for 45% of global human-caused methane emissions.
  • By joining the Pledge, countries commit to work together in order to collectively reduce methane emissions by at least 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.

Source:                  Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Among the following crops, which one is the most important anthropogenic source of both methane and nitrous oxide ? (2022)

  1. Cotton
  2. Rice
  3. Sugarcane
  4. Wheat

Q.2) “Climate Action Tracker” which monitors the emission reduction pledges of different countries is a :  (2022)

  1. Database created by coalition of research organisations
  2. Wing of “International Panel of Climate Change”
  3. Committee under “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”
  4. Agency promoted and financed by United Nations Environment Programme and World Bank


For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel –

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....

Sign Up To Receive Regular Updates