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COP27: Over 150 Nations Sign Methane Pact as Attention Turns to Farms

The single most effective tactic to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 °C within reach is thought to be rapidly reducing methane emissions from energy, agriculture, and waste. This strategy also produces co-benefits such as improved public health and agricultural productivity.

Shivam Dwivedi
95% of nations have pledged to reduce their emissions through nationally determined contributions.
95% of nations have pledged to reduce their emissions through nationally determined contributions.

On Thursday, the United States and the European Union announced that more than 150 countries had signed on to a global pact to reduce methane emissions, about 50 more than when the initiative was launched last year. The pledge aims to catalyse global action and strengthen support for existing international methane emission reduction initiatives in order to advance technical and policy work that will serve as the foundation for Participants' domestic actions.

The pledge to reduce powerful greenhouse gas emissions by 30% this decade is central to global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, level scientists say must be maintained to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

During the Glasgow climate talks last year, the United States and the European Union launched the Global Methane Pledge. "This is critical to our ability to keep 1.5 degrees within reach," Kerry said at a ministerial meeting to announce the progress.

Methane is now included in 95% of countries' nationally determined contributions or pledges to reduce emissions. According to him, the top two methane emitters, China, India, and Russia, have not signed on to the pact. In an unexpected turn of events, China's top climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, attended the ministerial meeting. He stated that he was invited by his "good friend" Kerry.

He then discussed China's methane strategy but declined to join the global effort. "I hope that by sharing this with you, we will be able to seek cooperation with all of you in various ways," Xie said through a translator. Kerry and Xie met for 30 minutes earlier on Thursday in China's delegation office. Fifty signatories to the Global Methane Pledge have released detailed emission-cutting plans.

On Thursday, the United States and the European Union will launch additional initiatives under the Global Methane Pledge, targeting the oil and gas, agriculture, and waste sectors. One of them is collaborating with the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development to assist smallholder farmers in Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, and Vietnam in reducing methane in their dairy systems.

Another is a $70 million programme to fund research on enteric fermentation, the digestive process by which some animals produce gas and the single largest source of methane emissions from agriculture.

The US and the EU also announced that Carbon Mapper, a satellite-based methane tracking system, will create a global waste sector methane baseline assessment on landfills and dumpsites. Methane emissions from the waste sector account for 20% of total emissions.

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