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  • Voltaire Staff

Methane emissions soar despite pledges, China coal big contributor: Report

Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Despite more than 100 countries committing to reducing methane emissions, data from the Climate Trace project indicate an increase in methane levels, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Climate Trace is a non-profit body that uses satellite imagery and AI to locate sources of pollution and helps expose discrepancies between reported and actual emissions.

Even as the Cop28 UN climate summit in Dubai is underway since last week, several nations in spite of pledging to cut down on carbon emissions have not be forthcoming with the actual numbers, the Al Gore-led body claims.

The Summit which began on November 28 has at its core a concept the summiteers have named "global stocktake," a process to evaluating progress towards meeting emission reduction goals for the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit.

Gore, a former US president candidate and a Climate Trace initiative founder, emphasised the initiative's role in offering precise emission details, tracing emissions to specific facilities worldwide.

Its recent findings pinpoint China's coal mines as a significant source of increased methane emissions between 2021 and 2022. China, for the first time, pledged to incorporate methane reduction in its national climate plans and collaborates with the US on mitigation strategies.

The not-for-profit claims the data it released on Sunday may aid the UN and companies in accurately reporting emissions.

Scientists highlight that substantial methane reductions offer the best immediate hope against severe consequences of global warming, potentially curbing temperature increases by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius alongside cuts to other short-lived pollutants.

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, praised the collaboration on methane during the Cop28 summit, suggesting it could help maintain the 1.5 degrees Celsius target. He compared methane to a "blowtorch" heating the planet.

The Climate Trace project identified methane flaring from oil and gas production as a major and widespread source of emissions.

Over 50 oil and gas companies at Cop28 joined a "decarbonization accelerator" to mitigate their operational climate impact, although they didn't commit to reducing their output.

Climate advocates criticised the voluntary nature of the agreement, expressing concerns about absence of any mechanism to hold companies accountable.


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