Targeted action needed to drive down methane emissions – IEA

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Targeted action needed to drive down methane emissions – IEA

A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights that without targeted action on methane, even with deep reductions in fossil fuels, the increase in the global average surface temperature will likely exceed 1.6°C by 2050.

The report identified agriculture as the main sources of methane emissions, followed closely by the use of coal, oil and gas.

The IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) Scenario shows a pathway for the global energy sector to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The scenario means that no new conventional long lead time oil and gas projects are approved for development after 2023.

According to IEA, even in the NZE Scenario, its does not achieve deep enough cuts in methane emissions to reach levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C with no or low overshoot.

Methane reduction benefits

The report states that a reduction in methane emissions would deliver health, food security and economic benefits, in addition to helping limit climate feedback loops.

“Methane is not only a potent greenhouse gas, but also a key precursor to ground level ozone pollution,” the report stated.

Drawing on research from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), it stated that reductions could reduce ozone exposure worldwide, avoiding nearly one million premature deaths through 2050.

It added that reduced ozone and the avoided climate change caused by reaching methane reduction targets would avert about 95 million tons of crop losses for wheat, rice, soy and maize.

The IEA valued the economic benefits of reaching methane targets to be more than US $260 between 2020 and 2050.

According to the IEA, improved and more transparent data about the sources of methane emissions would increase pressure on countries and companies to act.

“Measurement-based emissions reporting helps governments to regulate more effectively.

“It also allows consumers and investors to identify top performers and work with companies to set and achieve emissions reduction goals,” the report stated.


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