Approximately 100 countries have signed on to a global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, led by the United States and the European Union.
“This is fantastic,” European Commission President Ursula von de Leyen said Tuesday as she announced the news, explaining that slashing methane emissions will have a quick impact. “Doing that will immediately slow down climate change.”
“We have to act now,” she explained. “We cannot wait for 2050, we have to cut emissions fast and methane is one of the gases we can cut fastest.”
“Cutting back on methane emissions is one of the most effective things we can do to reduce near term global warming and keep 1.5 degrees Celsius. It is the lowest-hanging fruit,” she concluded.
Methane — the main component of natural gas — is invisible and odorless, and has 80 times more warming power in the near-term than carbon dioxide. Methane can be produced in nature from volcanoes and decomposing plant matter, but it is leaked into the atmosphere in much larger amounts by landfills, livestock and the oil and gas industry.
Scientists tell CNN reducing methane is the easiest way to slow the planet's warming trend.