We already know that humans are still not doing enough to curb climate change on Earth, but new data suggest things may change faster than anyone predicts,media reported. Global methane levels are higher than ever, according to a new report, and the main sources are coal and natural gas extraction, landfill decay and cattle farming.
The study, published in environmental research Letters, focused on data on atmospheric methane levels from 2000 to 2017. The researchers say 2017 is the most recent year for global methane data to be available, but there is no reason to believe that this has improved since then.
The researchers point out that methane levels are rising sharply, and that global temperatures could rise by 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This may sound like a small change, but it could bring huge climate change, dramatically affect the human food supply and destroy terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
One of the big problems with methane is that although it’s not as much in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it absorbs heat more easily. This is especially bad for a warming planet, where the more methane floats on Earth, the higher the temperature of the planet.
So who is responsible for the surge in methane production? Based on global data, the researchers put forward the following points:
“Increased emissions from the agricultural and waste sectors and the fossil fuel sector may be the main causes of this global growth, highlighting the need to strengthen mitigation in both areas. Our analysis also highlights increased emissions from the agriculture, waste and fossil fuel sectors in South and South-East Asia, as well as the growth of the fossil fuel sector in the United States. Europe, by contrast, is the only continent with a downward trend in methane emissions. “