An international team of scientists reveals that global emission of methane gas is rising. They fear that this greenhouse gas could jeopardize the international effort to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“Methane emissions were stable for quite a few years at the end of the 2000s. But they’ve begun to grow much faster, in fact 10 times faster, since 2007,” said Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project and researcher at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).
Methane emission has been increasing rapidly in the last three years. The researcher team composed of 100 scientists from around the world blames the rise on the increase of global food production. The primary driver of emission growth was agriculture and livestock.
Although methane is less common than carbon dioxide, it is able to trap 28 times more heat. While this greenhouse gas can also come from nature, 60 percent of it is produced by rice farming and cattle. It can also leak from oil and gas wells during drilling.
This problem has been known but Canadell said it was not given the attention it needs. He added that this is due to the need of ensuring there is enough food to produce.
Nevertheless, this problem can be easily addressed. According to Canadell, we need to examine the different types of feed that can significantly reduce greenhouse emissions from livestock.
It turns out that there are a lot of studies that determined how to change the cycles of flooding and drying on rice paddies, which can also greatly decrease the emissions of methane. However, this does not affect productivity, Canadell asserts.
“And there are opportunities to use methane gas emissions from landfill and agriculture for bio energy to use for gas heating or producing electricity,” adds Canadell.