Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

Climate critical: methane (interview)

October 9, 2021

BBC World News – While the world often focuses on carbon dioxide emissions, another far more potent greenhouse gas is attracting far less attention.

Methane has 80 times the warming power as CO2. Cutting methane can be one of the fastest fixes for our warming planet. Methane is color-less, odor-less, and produced when living things decompose or by the burning of fossil fuels. It is responsible for at least a quarter of today’s global warming but stays in the atmosphere for a relatively short time, around a decade rather than hundreds of year as with CO2.

Cutting methane emissions will be a cheap, easy, and quick way to cut global warming, according to the UN. It could be crucial to keep the 1.5°C target alive.

Currently the world is on a critical path to warm by 2.7°C by the end of the century. Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, discusses how significant do you think the focus on methane can be?