“We are grateful to be working with the European Union and partner countries towards a collective global goal, and I want to emphasize that it is a collective global goal to significantly reduce methane emissions,” the official told CNN.
Methane’s short lifespan is why countries are aiming to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their impact.
“Rapidly reducing methane emissions may be the single most effective strategy to keep the 1.5-degree limit within reach, in terms of short-term action that can be taken,” the senior official told CNN, adding that methane currently stands for about half a degree of heating.
If the world stopped emitting carbon dioxide tomorrow, Koven said, global temperatures would not start to cool for many years because of how long the gas stays in the atmosphere. Reducing methane is the easiest turn to turn around to change the path of global temperature over the next ten years, he said.
Methane is the main component of natural gas, which drives nearly 40% of the US electricity sector. It can enter the atmosphere through leakage from oil and natural gas wells, natural gas pipelines and the processing equipment itself.
According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, the United States has thousands of active natural gas wells, millions of abandoned oil and gas wells, about two million miles of natural gas pipelines and several refineries that process the gas.
One in three Americans lives in a county with oil and gas activities, which pose climate and public health risks, according to a report from the Environmental Defense Fund.