Soaring Methane Threatens Climate Targets, Scientists say

Published On:December 13, 2016, 11:09 am

Where the entire world has been working to lessen carbon emissions to fight climate change, there has been a concerning spears a certain dangerous gas.

Methane levels in the atmosphere are increasing more rapid than at any point in the past two decades, as per a new research. The latest findings are presented by the newly-released Global Methane Budget which was published on Monday as a part of an effort by 100 global scientists to determine just how much amount of methane is rising and what is the reason for it.

As compared to carbon dioxide, methane is less predominant in our atmosphere, stated a statement from the Global Carbon Project, it entraps 28 times more heat.

A co-author of this report and a professor at Stanford University, Mr. Robert Jackson said, "I think (people) should be concerned. At the same time we are trying to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions, methane is heading in the opposite direction." He further added, “It is dire.”

Hazardous Spike

Researchers have stated that methane gas emissions which spiked during 2014 and 2015 at astonishing levels. Its concentrations in the atmosphere elevated by 10 or more parts per billion, a considerable increase from 0.5 parts per billion by which had been recorded in the early 2000s.

This upsurge was observed in 2007, and ever since then the levels have gotten much worse. However, the accurate reason behind this surge is not clear, and in an editorial published in the Environmental Research Letters journal, scientists mention agricultural production and rising livestock, along with fossil fuel exploration.

Jackson stated, "Many people would point the finger at the oil and gas industry first -- but agricultural sources are bigger."

Livestock along with rice production both release methane into the atmosphere, however Pep Canadell, another co-author of the editorial, said that there are significant challenges in controlling the spread of methane from the previously mentioned source. .

Canadell said, "Countries are very concerned -- particularly less developed countries -- to ensure that there's enough food production, excess food production, to meet all (their) needs."

He further mentioned that, "Constraining greenhouse gases is an additional pressure on countries that mainly have opted not to do much about it so far, because the priority has been to secure the levels of food production that are required."

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