Action 355: Watch this video about the damage done by methane

MethaneDate: 21 December
Action: 355
Cost of taking action: NIL


Carbon Dioxide emissions are a high profile greenhouse gas problem, but did you know about methane too?

Today’s action is another learning one; make yourself aware of the damage being done by methane emissions and their contribution to global warming by watching a short video Methane: The Climate Monster.

From our guest writer Divya Hari in Singapore

Pay Attention to Methane Emissions

While there is so much talk about carbon dioxide emissions and climate change, one thing that doesn’t seem to be getting as much media attention is the other greenhouse gases, particularly methane.

Methane is one of the major greenhouse gases. It is about 80 times more potent in trapping heat than carbon dioxide and has been estimated to have caused at least 30% of global heating to date. Methane also contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, which is another greenhouse gas as well as a hazardous air pollutant; exposure to ozone causes over 1 million premature deaths every year.

Where does methane come from?

There are both natural and human sources of methane emissions. The main natural sources include wetlands and oceans. Natural sources create about 40% of methane emissions and are (normally) completely offset by natural methane sinks and balanced out by natural processes.

Human-related activities emit the other 60% or so of methane. Extraction, distribution and combustion of coal, natural gas and oil releases most methane, followed by farming and livestock and then agriculture, mainly rice cultivation.

Also, decomposition of organic materials in our landfill dumps emit a significant amount of methane into the atmosphere.

Why does methane matter?

Slashing methane emissions can effectively tackle climate change – especially in the short term since methane has a much shorter life span (about 10 to 12 years) before breaking down in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide can remain for over 200 years.

Personal individual decisions do have a huge impact and our collective actions can bring about positive changes across the world to win this battle against climate change.

  • Conserve Energy; some simple ways include weatherizing your home, using energy efficient appliances, new windows, replacing traditional light bulbs with LEDs, using public transport or carpool, etc (lots of this you will have read on this site of course)
  • You don’t have to go vegan to fight climate change but lowering your consumption of dairy and meat and shifting towards plant-rich diets can slash greenhouse gases. If demand for animal products decline, there won’t be such a need for the livestock that contribute to methane emissions
  • Support sustainable organic farming. When farmers provide animals with more nutritious feed, they can be healthier and more productive. Healthier livestock can be kept longer instead of being replaced with numerous younger calves; keeping an older cow into its later years means overall we need fewer cows – hence lower methane emissions
  • Reduce or eliminate food waste, and limit the amount of organic materials from ending up in landfills by composting. Composting does not just significantly reduce methane emissions but also comes with a host of other benefits such as reducing or entirely eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers and promoting higher yields of agricultural crops. Compost also enhances water retention in soils.

(Lots of the articles on this site cover aspects touched on by Divya here … take a look at the list … Ed)

Take action

Please learn more about the consequences of methane emissions. You can start by watching this really informative video from COP26 in Glasgow.

This article has been contributed by Divya Hari in Singapore
Follow Divya on Twitter at @IvyKriss 
or her website