COP26: Scores of world leaders sign up to methane slashing pledge

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/FilippoBacci
© GettyImages/FilippoBacci

Related tags methane pledge COP26

The COP26 summit on Tuesday heard that over 100 countries have joined a US and EU-led effort to cut emissions of methane 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels.

The Global Methane Pledge was formally launched at the climate talks in Glasgow but the project was first announced in September by EU Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, and US president, Joe Biden,

It is the first time a COP in recent history has hosted a major event on methane, with 105 countries, including 15 major emitters including Brazil, Nigeria and Canada, signing up to the initiative.

Parties signing the Pledge agree to take national-level, voluntary actions to contribute to reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, using a 2020 baseline. Scientists believe this could eliminate 0.2°C of warming by 2050.

This historic commitment equates to up to 40% of global methane emissions and 60% of global GDP.

"Methane has accounted for roughly 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times,"​ EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said in a statement ahead of the climate talks in Glasgow.

"Existing systems do not allow us to determine precisely enough where emissions happen across the globe and in what volumes."

Reporting tool

In that context, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), with support from the EU, have just launched a new Observatory to drive global action on reducing methane emissions.

The goal of the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO), according to UNEP, is to bring global reporting on methane emissions to an entirely different level, ensuring public transparency on anthropogenic methane emissions.

IMEO will initially focus on methane emissions from the fossil fuel sector, and then expand to other major emitting sectors like agriculture and waste, said the organization. 

Feed industry support

September saw he American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) confirming that the Pledge was a move in the right direction.

Those trade groups outlined how curbing animal agriculture’s contribution to climate change is a key priority for the US and EU feed industries, with trade group members having been working collaboratively for decades to collect data that allow the animal feed industry to benchmark its carbon footprint and research solutions to reduce it.

“There are feed ingredients in use around the world that are helping the beef and dairy sectors optimize the nutrient uptake of their livestock, while reducing their enteric emissions, but the use of these technologies is limited due to inconsistent regulatory regimes.

“We know that achieving meaningful change in reducing global methane emissions will only be realized through the use of science and technology – which is helping today’s farmers feed more people with less – not drastic and unrealistic calls to change dietary consumption patterns.

“We have a duty to evolve so that we can meet the dietary needs of a burgeoning population, while using fewer natural resources.”​ 

Related news

Show more