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Cutting methane emissions in Europe and increasing European global leadership in methane mitigation

Our Proposition

The Methane Matters coalition of experienced European non-governmental organizations aims to significantly reduce methane emissions in the relevant agriculture, waste and energy sectors by 2030 and, at the same time, strengthen the EU’s leadership role in implementing the global methane commitment.

Methane (CH4) is a colourless and odourless gas and occurs in nature as the main component of natural gas, on the seabed and in permafrost, as well as in swamps and bogs. It is produced by natural and anthropogenic biological processes during the decomposition or fermentation of organic Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) and warms the planet over 80 times more than CO2 over a 20-year period. More than half of global methane emissions are caused by humans, primarily through agriculture (animal husbandry, land use), the waste sector (landfills and wastewater) and the energy sector (extraction and transport of fossil fuels), which have already contributed to a gross temperature increase of 0.5°C.1



Image Credits:

1 Intro image: Corina Rainer on Unsplash

Main Sources of Methane Emission

The agricultural sector is responsible for around 54 per cent of all man-made methane emissions in the EU. There are already a number of cost-effective and immediately implementable solutions to reduce emissions. These include switching to a healthier and more sustainable diet, as well as reduced and improved consumption of meat and dairy products and technical measures in livestock farming.

The waste sector is the second largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the EU and contributes to around 27 per cent of all such emissions. The main strategies to reduce solid waste emissions are reduction, source separation and treatment of organic waste.

Around 20 per cent of global methane emissions are produced during the processing of gas, the extraction and processing of crude oil and coal and by fossil gas used in the petrochemical industry for the production of plastics. At EU level, excluding emissions associated with EU imports of oil, gas and coal, the figure is 17 per cent. However, a new analysis by the IEA shows that methane emissions from the energy sector are around 70 per cent higher than previously assumed.

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