New international commitment seeks to cut methane gas emissions
Brazil and over 100 countries commit to a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030
Signed on November 2, 2021, during COP26, the Global Methane Pledge is the result of efforts led by the United States and the European Union. More than 100 countries have signed the agreement, including Brazil. This commitment is related to the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, which provide for slowing the rate of global warming and combatting climate change.
The Global Methane Pledge was first announced in September 2021, and since then, the United States and European Union have been making efforts to secure the commitment of other nations. The countries that have signed up are responsible for about two-thirds of global GDP, including some of the world’s major emitters. However, China, Russia, and India – all among the globe’s top five emitters of methane gas – have not signed up to the pledge.
Methane is one of the gases with the most potential to raise Earth’s global surface temperature. It is estimated to be 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in stimulating global warming, and has accounted for about 30% of the world’s warming since pre-industrial times.
Consequently, there is an additional advantage of making a specific commitment to cut methane, as it should lead to shorter-term results for emissions reductions compared with carbon dioxide. Methane emissions are primarily linked to human activity, such as waste landfills, oil and gas production, and raising cattle. As such, the sectors corresponding to these activities may stand to be the most impacted by the new agreement.
Contributions of livestock to emissions
Brazil ranks fifth among the world’s largest emitters of methane gas, largely due to direct emissions from livestock such as cattle. Indeed, agriculture is the second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, with only changes to land use making a bigger contribution.
At the global level, the Global Methane Pledge is expected to have a greater impact on the oil and gas sector, as targets can be met more quickly and at a lower cost by eliminating methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure.
For further information on COP26, see the specialized content developed by Mattos Filho’s Environmental Law and Climate Change practice area:
- Fashion industry renews commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Nature and Land Use Day marked by new agriculture commitments
- Youth activists press for climate and humanitarian action at COP26
- Brazil’s state governors launch ‘Consórcio Brasil Verde’
- Brazil announces new greenhouse gas emissions goal
- Discussions on new climate finance initiatives progress at COP26
- New international agreement for preserving forests endorsed at COP26
*With the collaboration of Maria Eduarda Garambone, Anna Carolina Gandolfi, Mariana Diel e Gabriel Pereira Bispo de Oliveira.