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Global methane emissions are major part of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Methane in the atmosphere has a 100-year global warming potential of 34.[1] Atmospheric methane concentrations have reached almost two-and-a-half times pre-industrial levels or 3.2 billion tons. Comparing methane emissions to carbon dioxide emissions is complicated by the relative persistence of difference gases in the atmosphere. On a 20-year timescale, methane is about 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth; on a 100-year timescale, it is about 28 times more powerful.[2]

Cattle account for about 40 percent of annual methane emissions.[3] Wetlands are contribute about 30 percent of annual methane emissions.[4] The energy sector (including oil, natural gas and coal) contributes about 25 percent of annual methane emissions.[5] Natural sources other than wetlands account for about 10 percent of annual methane emissions. This includes emissions near oil and gas deposits unrelated to human activity, volcanic activity, and emissions by termites.[6] (Total is greater than 100% due to rounding and different sources for data.)

60 percent of atmospheric methane is anthropogenic (associated with human activities.) Emissions from the agricultural sector (including cattle and rice production,) the energy sector and landfill are the major anthropogenic sources.

Contents

Sources of atmospheric methaneEdit

 
Diagram showing the main sources of methane (produced for the first global report on global methane emissions)

Biogenic (b) methane is produced by microorganisms in a process called methanogenesis. Abiogenic (a) methane stored in rocks and soil stems from ancient biomass and the generation mechanisms are not the same as for other fossil fuels.

AnthropogenicEdit

Anthropogenic sources:[7][8][9]

Natural sourcesEdit

Natural sources that have always been a part of the methane cycle include:[12]

With the ongoing draining for agricultural and building areas, wetlands and the associated methane production are on the decline.

National reduction policiesEdit

China implemented regulations requiring coal plants to either capture methane emissions or convert methane into CO2 in 2010. According to a Nature Communications paper published in January 2019, methane emissions instead increased 50 percent between 2000 and 2015.[13][14]

By countryEdit

Methane emissions (kt of CO2 equivalent)[15]
Country 1970 2012
  Afghanistan 10,202 13,763
  Albania 1,764 2,644
  Algeria 12,857 48,527
  American Samoa 7 13
  Andorra n.a. n.a.
  Angola 23,377 18,974
  Antigua and Barbuda 24 43
  Argentina 84,918 88,476
  Armenia 1,318 3,426
  Aruba 10 23
  Australia 94,291 125,588
  Austria 9,022 8,007
  Azerbaijan 6,398 19,955
  Bahamas 94 227
  Bahrain 791 3,379
  Bangladesh 91,305 105,142
  Barbados 100 109
  Belarus 12,125 16,620
  Belgium 14,123 9,243
  Belize 96 228
  Benin 3,461 6,983
  Bermuda 20 31
  Bhutan 698 1,770
  Bolivia 16,509 23,231
  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,174 3,140
  Botswana 5,232 4,448
  Brazil 207,737 477,077
  British Virgin Islands 13 19
  Brunei Darussalam 1,615 4,539
  Bulgaria 9,940 11,794
  Burkina Faso 4,613 14,957
  Burundi 1,469 2,719
  Cabo Verde 46 151
  Cambodia 20,087 35,915
  Cameroon 8,286 18,516
  Canada 67,296 106,847
  Cayman Islands 12 29
  Central African Republic 28,890 85,677
  Chad 8,043 18,364
Channel Islands n.a. n.a.
  Chile 10,913 18,381
  China 781,088 1,752,290
  Colombia 36,921 67,979
  Comoros 142 284
  Congo, Dem. Rep. 119,583 75,336
  Congo, Rep. 6,677 7,156
  Costa Rica 2,599 2,315
  Cote d'Ivoire 7,803 16,266
  Croatia 2,986 4,708
  Cuba 13,600 8,560
  Curacao n.a. n.a.
  Cyprus 341 642
  Czech Republic 17,963 11,902
  Denmark 7,692 7,603
  Djibouti 149 634
  Dominica 16 41
  Dominican Republic 3,787 6,861
  Ecuador 6,621 15,786
  Egypt 20,778 51,977
  El Salvador 2,239 3,032
  Equatorial Guinea 76 2,959
  Eritrea 1,797 2,894
  Estonia 2,208 2,235
  Ethiopia 32,687 64,481
  Faroe Islands 30 39
  Fiji 416 715
  Finland 9,972 8,552
  France 82,882 81,179
  French Polynesia 41 99
  Gabon 876 3,894
  Gambia, The 495 1,039
  Georgia 3,493 5,019
  Germany 126,692 55,721
  Ghana 5,230 21,078
  Gibraltar 3 7
  Greece 5,872 8,255
  Greenland 18 29
  Grenada 25 37
  Guam 30 71
  Guatemala 3,217 6,877
  Guinea 7,148 28,654
  Guinea-Bissau 542 1,421
  Guyana 2,066 2,124
  Haiti 2,956 4,587
  Honduras 2,552 5,844
  Hong Kong SAR 704 3,147
  Hungary 10,395 7,135
  Iceland 308 359
  India 398,212 636,396
  Indonesia 126,665 223,316
  Iran, Islamic Rep. 52,013 121,298
  Iraq 19,682 24,351
  Ireland 10,170 14,330
  Isle of Man n.a. n.a.
  Israel 1,301 3,416
  Italy 40,488 35,238
  Jamaica 821 1,316
  Japan 101,804 38,957
  Jordan 362 2,115
  Kazakhstan 68,238 71,350
  Kenya 12,009 28,027
  Kiribati 5 16
  North Korea 15,007 18,983
  Korea, Rep. 25,949 32,625
  Kosovo n.a. n.a.
  Kuwait 21,910 12,691
  Kyrgyz Republic 4,561 4,291
  Laos 6,976 15,011
  Latvia 3,323 3,181
  Lebanon 545 1,150
  Lesotho 1,130 1,287
  Liberia 493 1,586
  Libya 29,695 18,495
  Liechtenstein n.a. n.a.
  Lithuania 4,584 4,806
  Luxembourg 714 1,169
  Macau 49 151
  Macedonia 2,033 1,396
  Madagascar 15,194 20,070
  Malawi 3,189 4,629
  Malaysia 14,317 34,271
  Maldives 13 52
  Mali 8,281 18,042
  Malta 98 141
  Marshall Islands 2 8
  Mauritania 3,157 6,082
  Mauritius 169 311
  Mexico 60,999 116,705
  Micronesia, Fed. Sts. 17 30
  Moldova 2,068 3,456
  Monaco n.a. n.a.
  Mongolia 6,735 6,257
  Montenegro n.a. n.a.
  Morocco 8,486 12,012
  Mozambique 12,793 9,968
  Myanmar 75,254 80,637
  Namibia 4,004 5,097
  Nauru 1 3
    Nepal 17,364 23,982
  Netherlands 20,204 19,026
  New Caledonia 180 215
  New Zealand 25,054 28,658
  Nicaragua 4,007 6,492
  Niger 5,185 6,858
  Nigeria 35,196 89,782
  Northern Mariana Islands 2 12
  Norway 6,866 16,409
  Oman 4,571 16,858
  Pakistan 56,503 158,337
  Palau 1 1
  Panama 2,324 3,378
  Papua New Guinea 948 2,143
  Paraguay 10,145 16,246
  Peru 13,704 19,321
  Philippines 43,211 57,170
  Poland 97,174 65,071
  Portugal 6,731 12,976
  Puerto Rico 1,277 2,406
  Qatar 4,776 41,124
  Romania 32,425 25,708
  Russian Federation 338,496 545,819
  Rwanda 1,302 2,942
  Samoa 63 133
  San Marino n.a. n.a.
  Sao Tome and Principe 17 46
  Saudi Arabia 31,740 62,903
  Senegal 4,605 9,928
  Serbia n.a. n.a.
  Seychelles 9 24
  Sierra Leone 2,554 3,352
  Singapore 658 2,386
  Sint Maarten (Dutch part) n.a. n.a.
  Slovak Republic 4,574 4,075
  Slovenia 2,099 2,822
  Solomon Islands 1,631 1,449
  Somalia 9,542 16,206
  South Africa 32,270 63,156
  South Sudan n.a. n.a.
  Spain 26,509 37,208
  Sri Lanka 11,338 11,864
  St. Kitts and Nevis 26 30
  St. Lucia 28 44
  Saint Martin (French part) n.a. n.a.
  St. Vincent and the Grenadines 23 40
  Sudan 31,752 96,531
  Suriname 941 709
  Swaziland 921 1,377
  Sweden 10,082 10,304
   Switzerland 4,878 4,900
  Syrian Arab Republic 2,425 12,783
  Tajikistan 2,814 5,408
  Tanzania 25,218 27,994
  Thailand 71,444 106,499
  Timor-Leste 412 732
  Togo 2,056 5,343
  Tonga 32 61
  Trinidad and Tobago 1,596 14,789
  Tunisia 2,531 7,647
  Turkey 32,789 78,853
  Turkmenistan 10,821 22,009
  Turks and Caicos Islands 1 6
  Tuvalu 2 3
  Uganda 8,565 21,161
  Ukraine 74,352 68,061
  United Arab Emirates 12,873 26,120
  United Kingdom 120,054 58,980
  United States 594,255 499,809
  Uruguay 14,524 19,549
  Uzbekistan 16,831 47,333
  Vanuatu 128 254
  Venezuela 35,151 58,199
  Vietnam 54,145 113,564
Virgin Islands (U.S.) 16 47
  West Bank and Gaza n.a. n.a.
  Yemen 2,205 8,940
  Zambia 33,881 6,551
  Zimbabwe 8,497 8,589
World 5,305,820 8,014,067

Removal technologyEdit

In 2019, researchers announced a technique for removing methane from the atmosphere. The approach is to convert it into CO
2
. CO
2
has a far smaller impact (99% less) on climate per molecule than methane. Zeolite is a crystalline material made mostly of aluminum, silicon, and oxygen.[16] However, a different source calculates that replacing methane emissions with CO
2
would reduce warming by approximately one-sixth.[16] (The difference may be partly due to the timescale considered.)

Zeolite has a porous molecular structure. Using powerful fans to push air through reactors of zeolite and catalysts absorbs the methane. This material can then be heated to release CO
2
. At a carbon price of $500/ton, removing one ton of methane would earn $12,000.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Myhre, G., D. Shindell, F.-M. Bréon, W. Collins, J. Fuglestvedt, J. Huang, D. Koch, J.-F. Lamarque, D. Lee, B. Mendoza, T. Nakajima, A. Robock, G. Stephens, T. Takemura and H. Zhang (2013) "Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing". In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing
  2. ^ "Methane, explained". National Geographic. nationalgeographic.com. 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  3. ^ "Methane, explained". National Geographic. nationalgeographic.com. 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  4. ^ "Global Carbon Project (GCP)". www.globalcarbonproject.org. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  5. ^ "Methane, explained". National Geographic. nationalgeographic.com. 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  6. ^ "Methane, explained". National Geographic. nationalgeographic.com. 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  7. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Global Methane Initiative. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  8. ^ US EPA, OA (23 December 2015). "Overview of Greenhouse Gases". US EPA.
  9. ^ Global Methane Emissions and Mitigation Initiatives, Global Methane Initiative
  10. ^ "Agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions on the rise". FAO. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  11. ^ "Fossil fuel industry's methane emissions far higher than thought". The Guardian. 2016. Emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas from coal, oil and gas are up to 60% greater than previously estimated, meaning current climate prediction models should be revised, research shows
  12. ^ Harvey Augenbraun, Elaine Matthews, and David Sarma. "EDUCATION: GLOBAL METHANE INVENTORY - The Global Methane Cycle". National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Goddard Institute for Space Studies.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Brooks Hays (29 January 2019). "Regulations haven't slowed China's growing methane emissions". UPI. Retrieved 31 January 2019. China's methane emissions increased 50 percent between 2000 and 2015
  14. ^ https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07891-7
  15. ^ Methane emissions (kt of CO2 equivalent), The World Bank, 2018
  16. ^ a b c Alexandru Micu (2019-05-21). "One research team proposes swapping atmospheric methane for CO2, and it might be a good idea". ZME Science. Retrieved 2019-07-17.

External linksEdit