Climate policies must include focus on methane - institute

23 September 2009 17:00  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Climate change policies must focus on reducing methane, which can be more effective and quicker in cutting greenhouse gas emissions than carbon dioxide (CO2), a German research institute said in a study on Wednesday.

“The impact of methane on climate change has been underestimated,” said Claudia Kemfert and Wolf-Peter Schill, the authors of a study on methane and climate change by Berlin-based DIW institute.

In some sectors it was not reasonable to try to reduce CO2 emissions, at a high cost, as the same climate effect could be achieved at much lower cost by reducing methane emissions, they said.

The main sources of methane emissions were the agriculture, energy and waste management sectors, the study said.

The most cost-effective opportunities for cutting methane were in natural gas, waste management and coal mining, according to DIW.

It was particularly important to avoid new sources of methane emissions, the study said, pointing to the growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

Methane accounts for about one sixth of all climate emissions caused by human activity, making it the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2, the study said.

“Methane reduction alone will not help save world climate. But it can help achieve climate goals in a more cost-efficient manner,” said Schill.

He urged the upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen to include a focus on methane, and to set targets and incentives for its reduction.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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