A General view on Methane Emissions

Methane (CH4) is a gas, which is primarily responsible for “global warming” and “climate change” along with other greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, etc.Methane Emission


Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. It also, result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills. Methane is a short-lived climate pollutant with an atmospheric lifetime of around 12 years. While its lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than carbon dioxide, it is much more efficient at trapping radiation. Per unit of mass, the impact of methane on climate change over 20 years is 84 times greater than carbon dioxide.

Credit – Environmental Defense Fund

Huge Problem for Human-Kind

Scientists warn that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise on the current trajectory, the world has little hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or even up to 2 degrees Celsius. Methane emissions are up to 9 percent from the early 2000s, according to the latest findings, and human activity is responsible for more than half of those emissions. Agriculture too makes up about two-thirds of emissions.

Curbing methane emissions will require better plugging leaks and other fugitive emissions from oil and gas infrastructure, like wells and pipelines which are a major source of methane emissions. It will also require an overhaul of agriculture, especially cattle and rice farming, two large sources of methane emissions.

Even natural sources like volcanoes, wetlands, permafrost too produce methane but it is much less than human activities. Scientists have warned that the Arctic region is warming at more than twice the rest of the planet. Even microorganisms, produce methane by a process called methanogenesis . It is stored in rocks and soil items, from the geologic process that convert ancient biomass into fossil fuels.

Rapid industrialization and urbanization have increased methane emissions. Livestock farming contributes to 13 percent of global greenhouse gases ( GHG) emissions. What can be done? Selective breeding can reduce those emissions while increasing milk output.

Measures Taken For Its Reduction

Scientists are targeting the reduction of methane in the breeding objectives for dairy cattle to select for animals that use feed more efficiently and thus produce less methane. Feed production too includes all the greenhouse gas emissions arising from land-use change, manufacturing, and use of fertilizers and pesticides, manure excreted and applied to fields, agriculture operations, feed processing, and feed transport.

Enteric fermentation is a natural part of the digestive process of ruminants where bacteria, Protozoa, and fungi contained in the stomach of the animal ( rumen), ferment and break down the plant biomass eaten by the animal. It’s a natural process of methane emissions.

Mangroves that thrive in saltwater and are found in coastlines in warmer regions throughout the world, underpin some of the most productive ecosystems on earth. Not only do they provide nursery areas for fish, crustacean, and many endangered species but they also protect shorelines from eroding shielding, humans from flooding, hurricanes, and other storms. They help in carbon capture. Since they are being cut down, the rise in emissions is significantly increasing.

Many governmental organizations and NGO’s are working on it and taking initiative. The world’s famous food industry, Burger king’s reduced methane meat is available in select locations and the company has taken the pledge to reduce the emissions.

Measures Taken For Control

Controlling methane is a fast and critical way to slow global warming, says experts. How can it be stopped? Well , it can’t be stopped completely, but we can control it.

  • Carbon farming: reducing methane emissions from cattle by using feed additives. Feed additives or supplements can reduce methane emissions from ruminant livestock. They inhibit methanogens in the rumen, and subsequently reduce entire methane emissions.
  • Biosolids are used to create special topsoil to cover decommissioned landfills. This topsoil contains microorganisms that convert methane into carbon dioxide, much less pollutant greenhouse gases.
  • A  possibility to reduce methane emissions from landfills by its oxidation in the soil.
  • Reducing food waste.
  • Companies have come up with methane leak detection, monitoring and repair is another area of increased focus. It will rapidly increase the use of technologies like optical gas imaging ( OGI), infrared cameras to detect and measure methane leaks from a variety of gas industry equipment, and will complete necessary repairs more frequently.
  • Supporting organic farming practices.
  • Managing manure to reduce methane and nitrous oxide. Cover manure storage facilities optimize manure applications to the soil.
  • Capturing vent gas to convert emissions into fuel.

It’s high time, we all become aware of methane emissions and contribute towards our society to make a better place to live in. Every small effort from individuals can make a greater change and a bigger picture. Read More Blogs on Notebook Nation

  • Post category:Science
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  • Post last modified:August 6, 2020

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