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New Primer on Cutting Methane: The Best Strategy for Slowing Warming in the Decade to 2030

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Washington, DC, 28 September 2022 — Aggressively cutting methane emissions is the best and fastest opportunity for slowing warming in this decisive decade. A recent study co-authored by IGSD showed that pairing a fast mitigation sprint targeting methane and other super climate pollutants with the marathon to get to net-zero carbon emissions can reduce the rate of warming by half from 2030 to 2050. This would slow the rate of warming a decade or two earlier than strategies targeting decarbonization alone and make it possible for the world to keep the 1.5°C guardrail within reach.

The Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) has released a Primer on Cutting Methane: The Best Strategy for Slowing Warming in the Decade to 2030 to provide decision-makers with clarity on the science of methane mitigation and the actions that are urgently needed. The Primer builds on IGSD's decades of scientific and strategic leadership promoting the global recognition that reducing super climate pollutants is the fastest way to slow global warming over the next decade.

Methane emissions anywhere impact climate and health around the globe. The Primer underscores that multilateral action to rapidly cut methane emissions is critical. The Primer also explores current and emerging mitigation opportunities by sector; national, regional, and international efforts that can inform emergency global action on methane; and financing initiatives to secure support for fast methane reduction.

The landmark Global Methane Assessment (2021) calculated that reducing methane emissions by 45% by 2030 will avoid almost 0.3 °C of warming globally and 0.5 °C of warming in the vulnerable Arctic by the 2040s. The Assessment further found that this reduction would prevent 255,000 premature human deaths every year, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labor from extreme heat, and 26 million tonnes of crop losses globally. More recently, the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) further confirmed the need for immediate and drastic reduction of methane emissions, calling for “strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 [methane] emissions.

Over the last two years, efforts to cut methane have been increasing. In 2021 at COP 26, the United States and the European Commission launched the Global Methane Pledge, which now has the support of 122 countries, representing half of global methane emissions and nearly three-quarters of the global economy. In June 2022, they launched the Global Methane Pledge’s Energy Pathway to catalyze cuts in the oil and gas sector.

This global effort is being supported by the Global Methane Hub, launched in tandem at COP 26 to help countries that want to move fast on methane, with initial pledges of more than $220 million over three years from international philanthropies.

The IGSD Methane Primer seeks to support and strengthen these and other methane efforts.

Download the Primer on Cutting Methane here.