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


Washington, DC, 19 March 2024 — Aggressively cutting methane emissions is the best and fastest opportunity for slowing warming by 2030. A peer-reviewed 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 by 2050 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.

This and other studies are included in IGSD’s updated and expanded Primer on Cutting Methane: The Best Strategy for Slowing Warming in the Decade to 2030. The Primer provides decision-makers with clarity on the science supporting methane mitigation as the fastest way to slow warming, and on the actions that are urgently needed to reduce emissions. 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 and through 2050.

Methane emissions anywhere impact climate and health everywhere around the globe. The Primer underscores that it is critical to pursue fast methane mitigation through strong national, regional, and multilateral action. The Primer also describes current and emerging mitigation opportunities by sector; and financing initiatives to secure support for fast methane reduction.

The landmark CCAC’s 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 four 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 156 countries and the European Union, 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. The International Energy Agency’s Global Methane Tracker 2024 report finds cutting methane from fossil fuels by 75% by 2030 is vital to limit warming to 1.5°C. To reach this goal and keep 1.5°C alive, the IEA estimates $170 billion in spending is needed to cut global methane emissions— $100 billion in the oil & gas sector and $70 billion in the coal sector, a mere 5% of last year’s profits.  The Global Methane Tracker 2024 report also makes clear that it is essential to move from voluntary to more binding commitments and to expand coverage and enforcement of methane mitigation policies to keep the planet safe.

The global methane mitigation campaign is 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 Primer on Cutting Methane supports and strengthens these and other methane efforts.

Download the Primer here.